Monday, September 15, 2014


Ukraine

Kyiv Unveils 'Terrorism' Sanctions Against Russian Citizens, Companies

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk talks to reporters in Kyiv on August 8 about sanctions proposed by the Cabinet against "individuals and legal entities financing terrorism and supporting the occupation of Crimea."
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk talks to reporters in Kyiv on August 8 about sanctions proposed by the Cabinet against "individuals and legal entities financing terrorism and supporting the occupation of Crimea."
By RFE/RL

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says the Ukrainian government is proposing that sanctions be imposed by Ukraine against 172 citizens from Russia and other countries and 65 Russian companies who are financing "terrorism" in the country.

Yatsenyuk said the recommendations would be passed on to the National Defense and Security Council and that he expected parliament on August 12 to pass laws to legalize the proposed moves.

Yatsenyuk said that sanctions will include asset freezes, banning transit of all types of goods across Ukraine, and withdrawing business licences.

Asked if sanctions could affect Russian gas transit, Yatsenyuk said the move could possibly mean halting "all types of transit, from air flights to transit of resources."

Russia in June halted gas supplies to Ukraine in a price dispute that arose as Moscow sought to ramp up political pressure following the exit of Kremlin ally Viktor Yanukovych in February, amid "Euromaidan" street protests and the occupation of public buildings.

But Russia continues to send gas farther on, to many European states.

Yanukovych is now in Russian exile, where he has insisted he is still Ukraine's rightful president.

Ukrainian authorities appeared to be sending the ousted president and his former cronies a message on August 8, with Yatsenyuk saying the sanctions could target fugitives and their companies.

He added, "The Ukrainian state will find the property of banks, finance companies, businesses, personal property around the world of all those who supported the annexation of Crimea and who now support and fund Russian terrorists on Ukrainian territory."

The media sector is also likely to be affected, including telephony, Internet services, and radio and television broadcasting.

In announcing the decision for sanctions, Yatsenyuk suggested that "In the worst-case scenario, the losses to Ukraine in the first year not only from sanctions but also from the aggressive policy of the Kremlin would be around $7 billion."

Trade Warfare

The Kremlin this week issued an order banning the import of most foods from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada, and Norway.

The "total embargo" was announced by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who said "it wasn't an easy decision to take, but we had to do it."

The embargo bans the import of beef, pork, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, cheese, milk, and other dairy products.

Moscow's move came in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed against Russia for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its perceived support of rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Border Tensions Persist

Officials said on August 8 that at least 19 people had been killed and 97 injured in fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in a span of 24 hours.

With Ukrainian national forces gradually regaining territory once held by separatists and tens of thousands of Russian troops massed near that country's border with Ukraine, Polish and NATO leaders have warned of the danger of a possible Russian military invasion of Ukraine.

Russia's Investigative Committee announced possible war crimes charges against five Ukrainian soldiers who were among several hundred who crossed the border earlier in the week, according to Kyiv to escape a heavy attack by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Moscow has suggested the soldiers defected, and said some of those troops testified against the five men named in the war crimes statement.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power warned at a Security Council meeting on August 8 that "any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory -- including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid -- would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming. And it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine."

Russia's Defense Ministry said on August 8 it had finished five days of military exercises in southern Russia that the United States has criticized as a "provocative" step.

The Defense Ministry said that aircraft taking part in the exercises have been redeployed from temporary to their permanent bases, and antiaircraft missile units were also preparing to leave for their permanent positions.

It said the drills in the southern Astrakhan region 1,000 kilometers from the border with Ukraine showed a "high level of cohesiveness" among troops.

The NATO military alliance says Russia has massed 20,000 troops near the border with Ukraine where government troops are fighting pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Ukrainian security officials suggested the number of Russian troops near the border was twice as high at around 45,000.

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Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Interfax

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