Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 05.03.2019
The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine started five years ago. The illegal occupation of Crimea and part of Donbas continues and Ukrainians living there remain under subjection to Muscovy. Trench warfare is still being waged along a battlefront in Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine. Over 13,000 people have been killed by Russian aggression and over one and a half million Ukrainians are internally displaced persons. With no sign that Putin will put a stop to his war against Ukraine, the United States and the European Union are extending sanctions.
In the U.S., Executive Orders from declaring a national emergency, dating from 2014, have been extended. These Obama-era Executive Orders are related to the Yanukovych Clan kleptocracy and to the Russian Federation’s “purported annexation of Crimea and its use of force in Ukraine.”
“The actions and policies addressed in these Executive Orders continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” reads the extension order. The original declaration of emergency made on 6 March 2014 is extended for another year, until 6 March 2020.
The Council of the European Union prolonged sanctions for another year against Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies who stole the wealth of the Ukrainian nation. The Council extended until 6 March 2020 the asset freezes directed against 12 persons identified as responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds or for the abuse of office causing a loss to Ukrainian public funds.
After review, the restrictive measures against one person were not extended. This decision is based on the annual review of the measures. The legal acts will be published officially on March 5, but according to unofficial reports the one person for whom sanctions were not extended is Andriy Klyuyev. He was the head of the Yanukovych administration.
This restrictive measures regime has been in place since 5 March 2014, and has been extended on a yearly basis since then.
The U.S. and the EU are taking prudent measures to counter Russian aggression and the legacy of corruption of the Yanukovych regime. To liberate Crimea and Donbas and restore peace to war-torn Europe, sanctions on Russians must be broadened and deepened to a full economic embargo and blockade.