Keywords: Grave Breaches of Fundamental Values; Greatest World Powers; Measures Taken by not Directly Affected Subjects; Efficacy; Legal Guarantees; Duty not to Recognize.
The individual sanctions adopted by the European Union and the United States in the aftermath of the 'takeover' of Crimea by the Russian Federation have largely been criticized for being ineffective. However, their efficacy needs to be evaluated bearing in mind the legal and political objectives they pursue. They seem to be primarily aimed at the cessation and non-repetition of the alleged Russian aggression against Ukraine, rather than at the restitution of Crimea. Moreover, they seem to be aimed at preserving the "status quo" in Ukraine following the overthrown of the pro-Russian government. After all, international law does not seem to provide for viable legal guarantees in exceptional circumstances, when the greatest world Powers seriously disregard the law on the use of force within areas under their influence. In such circumstances, even the general obligation not to recognize as lawful a situation created by an act of aggression may prove to be not particularly meaningful. This is not because international law is 'limited'. It is its real essence.