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Russia's Biggest Arms Firm Fights EU Sanctions in European Court

A launcher from the S-300VM Antey-2500 missile defense system

Russia's biggest defense contractor Almaz-Antey said Friday it had filed a court appeal against its inclusion on the European Union's Russia sanctions list, claiming there was no proof that the company's weapons have been supplied to pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

State-owned Almaz-Antey, one of the world's largest missile manufacturers, was one of a clutch of Russian companies sanctioned by the U.S. and EU last year to punish Moscow for its annexation of Crimea and support for separatist Ukrainian militias.

In a press release on Friday, Almaz-Antey said the action against it was illegal.  

“No proof has been presented by the European Council that [Almaz-Antey] is involved in destabilizing the situation in Ukraine,” Almaz-Antey general director Yan Novikov was quoted in the press release as saying.

Without proving these allegations, “the company's inclusion on the sanctions list is unreasonable and violates the basic rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,” Novikov argued.

The company said it had hired German law firm Taylor Wessing to fight in its corner and lodged an appeal at the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg challenging the sanctions. It had also filed a request to the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to review the evidence behind the measures, the press release said.

Almaz-Antey was ranked as the world's 12th-largest defense firm by Defense News in its annual list of the largest defense industry firms. Specializing in air defense missile systems, the company reported revenues of more than $8 billion in 2013.

The EU sanctions against the company froze the company's European assets and prohibited its export of weapons or dual-use products to European Union members and companies.

Revenue figures for 2014 have not yet been reported, so the impact of sanctions on the company are not yet known.

Almaz-Antey is not the only Russian company to take the EU to court over sanctions. Among the plaintiffs are oil giant Rosneft and state-owned banks Sberbank and VTB.

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