Kyiv, 22 August 2014 – “On 14 August 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed a governmental bill ‘On Sanctions’, which was then sent to the President of Ukraine for signing. This bill was prepared upon the instruction of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk by a sanctions committee set up by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. In essence, the bill creates a legislative framework for the imposition of both sectoral and personal sanctions against those foreign persons and countries that support the occupation of Ukraine, stand against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, finance and support terrorism and separatism and pursue an unfriendly policy towards our country,” said Pavlo Petrenko, Minister of Justice of Ukraine, during a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
“This law has created a legal basis for Ukraine to take appropriate actions against aggressor states, first and foremost against the Russian Federation which is, beyond doubt, an aggressor state that occupied the Crimean Peninsula and is providing support, funds and supplies to terrorists,” he explained.
Mr. Petrenko stated that the government has also prepared proposals and a complete package of documents for the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) as a body responsible for the imposition of sanctions against specific persons and companies. Currently, the list comprises 65 companies involved in anti-Ukrainian actions and 176 individuals, mostly Russians, who are involved in unfriendly actions against Ukraine. These proposals must be reviewed by the NSDC after the Law of Ukraine “On Sanctions” enters into force. “Actions to be taken under the Law of Ukraine ‘On Sanctions’ under the decision of the NSDC may be open and public, or they may be closed and not subject to public disclosure,” noted Pavlo Petrenko. “This is a European practice. We will initiate the examination of this issue at the next NSDC meeting.”
Mr. Petrenko explained that open sanctions will primarily include economic sanctions, such as the prohibition for Russian entities to participate in the privatization of Ukrainian state property, prohibition for the Ukrainian state bodies, institutions and companies to spend public money on purchasing goods that originate from the Russian Federation and are sold by Russian businesses, some restrictive measures in the financial sector etc.
The Minister said: “I am convinced that this decision will be adopted. This is an adequate response to the unfriendly actions of the Russian Federation which is also already imposing sanctions against Ukrainian goods in the form of restrictions on imports to Russia. This first of all concerns food products.”
The Minister noted that “Russia’s imposing prohibitions and restrictions on imports from the EU member countries and the USA are sanctions against the Russian citizens. If you analyze Russia’s balance of trade for the last year, you will see that exports are valued at approximately USD 400bn while the imports are approximately USD 380bn. The biggest share in exports belongs to energy products while most of the imports are food products and hi-tech goods. Prohibition to import food products amounts to sanctions against its own citizens who will no longer be able to buy quality products at affordable prices. Russian politicians’ statements that the sanctions have no effect are groundless. Maybe Russian politicians themselves do not feel the sanctions because they have the money to afford high quality goods, but Russian citizens have already begun and will continue to feel them, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is directly and personally responsible for this.”