Sanctions imposed by Ukraine and Western partners must be synchronized

by Anastasiya Radina and Yegor Chernev for UP

The presidential decree on the implementation of the decision of the National Security and Defense Council to impose sanctions on Taras Kozak and legal entities controlled by him that own pro-Kremlin propaganda TV channels is necessary step to protect national security of Ukraine from the aggressor state. 

Media funded by Russia systematically disseminate Russian propaganda to Ukrainian citizens and often distort information reality by spreading fakes.

These media resources are also used to discredit any reforms, including anti-corruption one.

Thanks to support of such media, pro-Russian forces are “gaining weight” in society, and are building successful political projects and influencing legislation, and thus lives of all Ukrainian. 

Meanwhile, Russia is using other agents of influence in Ukraine.

For instance, in August last year, the US Department of Treasury imposed personal sanctions on Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach, stating that “Derkach has been active Russian agent for more than 10 years, who has close relations with Russian intelligence services”. 

In January this year, the United States of America added MP Oleksandr Dubinskyi, former MP Oleksandr Onyschenko, former prosecutor Konstantyn Kulyk, and others to its sanction list.

When the US Department of Treasury explained this decision, it stated that Dubinskyi and others, in coordination with Derkach who had acted as agent of Russian intelligence services, spread unsubstantiated allegations about the US political candidate.

Earlier, in the beginning of 2014, the US Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on Viktor Medvedchuk, close friend of Putin, for material and financial support of Yanukovych’s regime, as well as separatist movements in Ukraine.

Also in 2014, the EU imposed sanctions on Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage.

Such sanctions are the instrument of security policy. First of all, they must stop activities that harm the national interests and security of the state, as well as break economic ties of other persons (individuals or legal entities) with the sanctioned person.

In practice, the US sanctions mean that Western financial institutions are prohibited to serve sanctioned and related individuals. It is worth to note that such sanctions regime is also applied to the US citizens. Namely, at least 48 US citizens are currently on the OFAC list.

Similarly, there are no restrictions in the UK and the EU legislation on imposing sanctions on citizens of these countries. This means that if citizens, for instance, of the United Kingdom are on the sanctions list, restrictions on access to the national banking system may be applied on them. 

While American banks are forbidden to open accounts for Medvedchuk, Derkach and others, the Ukrainian financial system freely serves those who “promote” interests of the aggressor state. 

Thus, Viktor Medvedchuk’s wife Oksana Marchenko has oil production business in Russia, and Medvedchuk himself, according to his declaration, paid about 2,301,600 UAH in favor of the political party Opposition Platform for Life in 2019, the main expenses of which, according to the financial report of the party itself, were made in favor of the pro-Russian media.

Moreover, Medvedchuk paid more than 6 million UAH in favor of the organization “Ukrainian Choice – The Right of the People”.

Back in 2014, the US Department of Treasury stated that the organization Ukrainian Choice, whose leader was Medvedchuk, “incited the conflict in Kherson through advertising campaigns aimed at deepening the confrontation between supporters and opponents regarding attempt of Russia to annex Crimea”.

Thus, it is possible that revenues from Russian businesses could be used to promote pro-Russian narratives.

We strongly believe that giving sanctioned persons the opportunity to use financial system of Ukraine contradicts interests of protecting the national security and undermines the effectiveness of sanctions as such.  

The solution could be the draft law that would, in fact, ban Ukrainian financial institutions to serve individuals and legal entities, which have fallen under sanctions of Ukraine, as well as those already under sanctions of our partners and international organizations, namely, the United States, the EU, the United Kingdom, and the UN Security Council.  

Moreover, the draft law prohibits such persons to hold positions in the civil office and obliges the NACP to conduct thorough inspection of their assets.  

Unfortunately, Pro-Russian oligarchic forces still have huge resources in conditions of hybrid war with Ukraine.

Partner countries of Ukraine have opportunity to respond to threats to national security with the help of sanctions, the strength of which is including radical restriction of ability of sanctioned persons to use benefits of banking systems of these countries.

We are convinced that it is our duty to implement similar consequences of imposing both external and internal sanctions in Ukraine. In this way, we will be able to “pull the plug” of influence of Russia and its agents in Ukraine.

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