On EU’s 12-month extension (until May 18, 2022) of its “cyber sanctions”

Submitted on Mon, 05/31/2021 - 16:58

We estimate the EU Council’s decision on a 12-month extension of its restrictions in response to cyber attacks threatening the European Union or its member-states as an extremely unconstructive, politically motivated step with regard to Russia. 

Maintaining the sanction mechanisms in the information and communications sphere is an atavism against the background of states’ intensifying, open, inclusive and democratic international dialogue on venues at all levels, which is aimed at creating a system of international information security (IIS), including by developing universal rules of conduct to prevent conflicts in the IIS area and remove misunderstandings. 

We believe that this step is at odds with the EU-declared readiness to strengthen international cooperation in this sphere. Rather, on the contrary: it is cultivating total distrust and is a tool of political pressure on countries. Brussels’ consideration of “cyber sanctions” as an essential measure to achieve the goals of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy is unconvincing and suggests the idea of an approaching next round of a “witch hunt,” where the West’s rules-based world order is set in opposition to a “collective enemy (or enemies),” on whom they can groundlessly put the blame for malicious cyberspace activities. The Russian Federation has consistently advocated the peaceful use of information space in full conformity with the generally recognised principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, specifically the non-use or threat of force, non-interference in internal affairs of other states, and respect for state sovereignty. 

Russia is ready for a constructive and open dialogue. To this end, early last year, we already made a suggestion to the EU, to establish direct interaction between related experts, who can solve all the problems in a maximally prompt way.

However regrettably, all our initiatives remain unanswered.