Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 01.08.2018
The European Union has added to the Russia sanctions responding to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. On July 31, the European Council added six entities involved in the construction of the Kerch Bridge connecting the Russian Federation to the illegally annexed Crimea, Ukraine.
All of the assets in the EU belonging to these six entities have been frozen, and EU persons cannot make any funds available to them. The Council declared that the actions of the sanctioned Russian firms in constructing the illegal Kerch Bridge amounted to “undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” according to the Council press release.
JSC “Institute Giprostroymost – Saint-Petersburg” was sanctioned because it designed the Kerch Bridge. PJSC Mostotrest was sanctioned because of its state contract for maintenance of the Kerch Bridge and because it is owned by sanctioned individual Arkady Rotenberg. JSC Zaliv Shipyard was sanctioned because it constructed a new railway to the Kerch Bridge. Stroygazmontazh Corporation (SGM Group) was sanctioned because of its state contract for construction of the Kerch Bridge and because it is owned by sanctioned individual Arkady Rotenberg. JSC Stroygazmontazh Most was sanctioned because it is a subsidiary of lead contractor Stroygazmontazh that manages the construction project of the bridge over the Kerch Strait and because it is owned by sanctioned individual Arkady Rotenberg. CJSC VAD was sanctioned because it is the main contractor for the construction of the Tavrida Highway in Crimea, Ukraine (Russian-occupied), the road over the Kerch Bridge, and the access roads to it.
The Council of the European Union declares that each of these six Russian companies is sanctioned because they are helping to consolidate the illegal annexation of Crimea, Ukraine into the Russian Federation. They further undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine.
Referring approvingly of “the Kerch sanctions list,” the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, sent a tweet saying: “In collaboration with international partners, we will find effective political and legal and security mechanisms to stop the Russian blockade of the Azov Sea.”
Unlike the EU, Canada has not sanctioned any Russian individuals or entities involved in the construction of the illegal Kerch Bridge. Unlike the EU, Canada has not sanctioned any of the Russian organizers of the illegal presidential ‘election’ conducted in Crimea, Ukraine (Russian-occupied) on March 18 of this year. Unlike the EU, Canada has not sanctioned Putin crony and threat to international peace and security Arkady Rotenberg. To the contrary, through its over-generous subsidies, Canada encouraged Bombardier to invest $8 million to help the Russians build the “Ukraine Bypass” railway. This railway replaces one that traversed Luhansk region in Ukraine – Luhansk is now under attack and partially occupied by Russia. The Ukraine Bypass railway will allow the Russians to move their mechanized armies more rapidly into position to further invade Ukraine. Canada also refuses to sanction Vladimir Yakunin and Russian Railways.
The European Union will never recognize the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol into the Russian Federation. The EU owes its very existence and all of its success to the peace and prosperity that the rules-based international order has brought since the end of the Second World War. Crimea belongs to Ukraine, and that’s that.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, pointed out the danger for European firms doing business with Russia. Minister Klimkin wrote on Twitter: “Welcome the EU Council decision to sanction Russian companies responsible for Kerch bridge construction. Important warning also for European businesses not to go down same slippery slope.”
Firms that break the spirit of sanctions, like Canada’s Bombardier, will find that participating in the evil of Russian aggression may earn short-term profits, but it does so at the expense of long-term business sustainability.
Ukraine, the EU, Canada, the US, and other Western democracies must be united to stop Putin’s War. Sanctions against Russian war criminals must be broader and deeper than they are now – they have to really bite. The sanctions lists must be consistent, because otherwise the Russians will continue to find loopholes in the regulations and ignore sanctions, as they are doing now. Every Russian individual or entity who participates in Russia’s invasion and partial occupation of Ukraine is “beyond the Pale” and must deprived of the freedom to travel, the freedom to use their money, and the freedom to do business. There must not be profit in doing evil.