Russian court rejects Siemens’ plea to seize its turbines in Crimea

A worker poses on request of press photographers next to a turbine at the Siemens Gas Turbine Plant in Berlin, Germany, 2 March 2017. [EPA]

A Moscow court has rejected a request by Siemens to seize its gas turbines, which have turned up in Crimea contrary to EU sanctions, and to ban their installation ahead of preliminary hearings next month, the court’s ruling showed on Sunday (20 August).

The ruling by Moscow’s Arbitration Court responded to a lawsuit filed by the German engineering firm Siemens against a Russian state firm in July after four turbines which it had sold for use in Russia turned up in the Moscow-annexed region.

The court’s report showed it had rejected Siemens’ request to take possession of the turbines in an injunction ahead of preliminary court hearings into the dispute set for 18 September.

Reuters was the first to report this year that Russian firms had shipped the Siemens turbines to Crimea, which has been subject to EU sanctions on energy technology since Russia unilaterally annexed the region from Ukraine early in 2014.

Siemens turbines cause whirlwinds in Crimea

A firm part-owned by German firm Siemens was preparing to install electricity turbines in Crimea despite prohibitive EU sanctions. The issue was brought to the attention of Brussels and Siemens on Monday (10 July).

Moscow needs the turbines for two Crimean power plants the Kremlin wants to get running to fulfill a promise, made by President Vladimir Putin, to ensure a stable power supply for the region’s residents.

Crimea used to rely on the Ukrainian power grid but is now dependent on Russia for electricity.

Sergei Aksyonov, head of the Kremlin-backed local government in Crimea, told Reuters on Sunday that the electrification of the peninsula was going ahead as planned. He did not elaborate.

When asked if foreign experts were still needed to launch electric power plants, Aksyonov said that Crimea did not need them “100 percent”.

The violation of sanctions has prompted the EU to expand penalties against Russia. The new sanctions include Deputy Energy Minister Andrei Cherezov and three Russian companies.

EU sanctions Russian deputy minister over Siemens turbines to Crimea

The European Union on Friday (4 August) imposed sanctions on three more Russians, including Deputy Energy Minister Andrei Cherezov, and three Russian companies over the delivery of Siemens’ turbines to Moscow-annexed Crimea.

Moscow has said the EU decision to expand sanctions is politically motivated and illegal.

How EU firms skirt sanctions to do business in Crimea

Products for sale in the Crimean stores of two European retailers are being shipped there from Russia via a ferry and port subject to EU sanctions, transportation employees said, indicating that companies are finding ways to dodge the punitive regime in place since 2014.

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