When Russia "illegally invaded" Crimea, a part of southern Ukraine, in early 2014 the international community reacted to what the EU said was a "deliberate destabilization of a neighboring sovereign country' by imposing restrictive measures against it that are still in place.
Sanctions include asset freezes and travel restrictions against individuals, officials and businesses perceived to be involved in Crimea's annexation, as well as a ban on imported goods from Crimea and tourism services.
Russia was also quickly accused of supporting a subsequent pro-Russian uprising in east Ukraine. It denied the charge but the EU and U.S. decided in September 2014 to impose a further batch of economic sanctions targeting - and crucially, isolating - Russia's financial, energy, technology and defense sectors and restricting trade in these areas.
It is these sanctions that have been far more extensive and damaging on the Russian economy than those solely related to Crimea, in no small part causing Russia's economy to nosedive into a recession in 2015 amid the ensuing capital flight.
"You must differentiate the two blocs of sanctions," Weafer noted. "The Crimea sanctions are not going anywhere as far as anybody is concerned but we're looking at (these separate) sectoral sanctions that affect the technology sector, oil and financial sector and of those three, the financial sector ones are the most important," he added.
"When those were applied, there was almost a blanket ban on trade with Russia by credit institutions. You only have to mention financial sector sanctions with U.S. involvement and everyone runs a mile and so they have been disproportionately more damaging and so these are the only sanctions the Kremlin is trying to target at least with the Europeans, come January, and then it hopes the U.S. will follow."