“… The #EuropeanUnion’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told a news conference in the #Russian capital on Monday that the #EU could not pretend that #Moscow had not annexed #Ukraine’s #Crimea in 2014, and that the bloc’s sanctions over the issue would not be lifted. She insisted, however, that cooperation between the two sides was not “frozen,” but rather hampered by differences over issues such as #Ukraine and #Syria. Mogherini was speaking alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey #Lavrov on her first official visit to Moscow in her current role as the EU’s top diplomat. …”
“Three years on since the #Russian authorities took control of #Crimea, Russian security forces’ actions on the peninsula increasingly recall methods that first gained infamy in the North Caucasus. Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists disappear without a trace, people who protest the policies of the new authorities are arrested, Salafi Muslims are persecuted. Just like in the Caucasus, it’s difficult for journalists, rights defenders and lawyers to operate in Crimea — they are all subject to pressure. Torture has come to Crimea, too. In particular, the Russian security services’ favourite method — electric shock. …”
“Russia revives Soviet-era psychiatric punishment: Crimean Tatars, dissenters suffer” – Sydney Morning Herald
… last week after his release from a forced stay in a Crimean psychiatric hospital, Ilmi Umerov [said] ‘It was what you could call one big torture’ … Having made public statements against Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine … Russian authorities charged Umerov with ‘separatism’ and forced him into a psychiatric hospital for a month of observation [even as he already was s]tricken with Parkinson’s, diabetes and heart problems…. * * * The resurgent Soviet-era practice of punitive psychiatry has shut away a number of dissenters and activists who have dared to speak out against the Russian government. [After] opposition activist Mikhail Kosenko took part in mass protests against … Putin’s inauguration for a third term, the … Bolotnaya Square protests [h]e was soon arrested, convicted and confined to a psychiatric hospital for eight months … Earlier this year, an opposition activist was grabbed from his home by orderlies posing as gas company workers and dragged off to a psychiatric hospital, where he was involuntarily injected with drugs before being released a week later. …
Click here for Sydney Morning Herald: “Russia revives Soviet-era psychiatric punishment: Crimean Tatars, dissenters suffer”
TREASURY DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE: “Treasury Sanctions Individuals and Entities for Sanctions Evasion and Activities Related to the Conflict in Ukraine”
U.S. Treasury Department Press Release – 9/1/2016
U.S. Will Maintain Sanctions Pressure Until Russia Has Fulfilled All of Its Commitments under the Minsk Agreements
WASHINGTON – To maintain the effectiveness of existing sanctions, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated 37 individuals and entities under three Executive Orders (E.O.s) related to Russia and Ukraine. Today’s action is part of OFAC’s ongoing efforts to counter attempts to circumvent sanctions on Russia, to assist the private sector with sanctions compliance, and to foster a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. The action demonstrates Treasury’s steadfast commitment to maintain sanctions until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements, including a comprehensive cease fire, the withdrawal of all weapons and military personnel, and the restoration of Ukraine’s control over its side of the internationally recognized border. It also underscores the U.S. government’s opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and our firm refusal to recognize its attempted annexation of the peninsula. These sanctions follow the recent extension of European Union sectoral sanctions, and together these steps demonstrate continued international unity in opposing Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
“Russia continues to provoke instability in eastern Ukraine despite its Minsk commitments,” said Acting OFAC Director John E. Smith. “Treasury stands with our partners in condemning Russia’s violation of international law, and we will continue to sanction those who threaten Ukraine’s peace, security, and sovereignty.”
Today OFAC also identified a number of subsidiaries that are owned 50 percent or more by previously sanctioned Russian companies to provide additional information to assist the private sector with sanctions compliance.
Designation Regarding Sanctions Evasion (E.O. 13661)
Today’s action targets one entity pursuant to E.O. 13661, which authorizes sanctions on, among others, any individual or entity that has acted for or on behalf of, or supported, an individual or entity previously designated under this E.O.
CJSC ABR Management (“ABR Management”) is designated for acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, and materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing, financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Bank Rossiya. Bank Rossiya managers founded ABR Management to strategically manage the banking group’s assets. As the trustee under a trust agreement with certain Bank Rossiya shareholders, ABR Management has the power to exercise voting rights for a majority of Bank Rossiya shares, including rights to propose candidates for Bank Rossiya management positions.
Designations Regarding Separatists (E.O. 13660)
Today’s action also targets 17 Ukrainian separatists pursuant to E.O. 13660 for being responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; asserting governmental authority over a part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine; or for acting for or on behalf of previously designated groups as leaders of such entities.
The following six individuals are designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; asserting governmental authority over a part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine; and acting for or on behalf of the previously designated, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) or the previously designated, self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR): Eduard Basurin, so-called Deputy Commander of the Ministry of Defense, DPR; Viktor Yatsenko, so-called Minister of Communications, DPR; Vladimir Kononov, so-called Minister of Defense, DPR; Zaur Ismailov, so-called Prosecutor General, LPR; Evgeny Manuilov, so-called Minister of Finance, LPR; and Alexandr Shubin, so-called Minister of Justice, LPR.
The following 11 individuals, officials of the so-called Republic of Crimea, are designated for asserting governmental authority over a part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine: Dmitry Polonsky, so-called Minister of Information and Mass Communications; Anna Anyukhina, so-called Minister for Property and Land Relations; Mikhail Sheremet, so-called First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers; Svetlana Alekseevna Borodulina, so-called Minister of Fuel and Energy; Irina Kiviko, so-called Minister of Finance; Valentin Demidov, so-called Minister of Economic Development; Oleg Shapovalov, so-called Minister of Justice; Andrey Gennadievich Vasyuta, so-called Minister of Industrial Policy; Viktor Palagin, so-called Head of the Federal Security Service Directorate; Mikhail Nazarov, so-called Director of the Investigative Committee Chief Investigations Division; and Georgiy Muradov, so-called Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Permanent Representative to the President of the Russian Federation. Two of these individuals, Dmitry Polonsky and Georgiy Muradov, are additionally designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Additional E.O. 13660 Designation
The Salvation Committee of Ukraine also is designated pursuant to E.O. 13660 for being owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, whom OFAC previously designated under the same E.O. for the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine.
Designations Regarding Crimean Entities (E.O. 13685)
Today’s action also targets the following 18 construction, transportation, and defense entities pursuant to E.O. 13685, which authorizes sanctions on, among others, any person determined to operate in the Crimea region of Ukraine. Except as otherwise noted, the persons listed below are designated for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.
Entities Involved in the Construction of the Kerch Bridge
Russia’s SGM-Most OOO, which is owned by previously designated gas pipeline construction company Stroygazmontazh, is the chief contractor for the construction of the Kerch Bridge, which would span the Kerch Strait to connect the Crimean peninsula with Russia.
PJSC Mostotrest is a major Russian construction company engaged in the construction of bridges, roads, and other transport infrastructure facilities. In March 2016, SGM-Most OOO awarded a multi-billion ruble construction contract to Mostotrest for the development of the Kerch Bridge.
AO ‘Institute Giprostroymost—Saint-Petersburg’ designed the Kerch Bridge.
OOO ‘STG-Eko’ conducted engineering and ecological studies for an Environmental Impact Assessment of the Kerch Bridge for AO ‘Institute Giprostroymost—Saint-Petersburg.’
OOO ‘DSK’ is a Russian construction company whose work includes building access roads to bridges and overpasses. OOO ‘DSK’ won an auction in September 2015 for construction work on access roads to the Kerch Bridge on both sides of the Kerch Strait.
FKU Uprdor ‘Taman’ is a Russian federal institution under the Federal Road Agency (Rosavtodor) authorized to help manage federal highways and related structures in Crimea and in Russian Federation territory. FKU Uprdor ‘Taman’ operationally manages the construction of the Kerch Bridge.
FAU ‘Glavgosekspertiza Rossii’ is a Russian federal institution authorized to conduct official examinations of project documentation for significant construction works in Russian Federation territory. In 2015, after Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of the Crimean peninsula, FAU ‘Glavgosekspertiza Rossii’ opened a branch in the city of Sevastopol and reviewed project documentation for the Kerch Bridge.
Defense Firms Operating in Crimea
OOO Shipyard ‘Zaliv’ is a shipbuilding company in Kerch, Crimea formed after militants forcibly seized the shipyard from its previous owners in August 2014. It holds resident status in the so-called Republic of Crimea’s free economic zone and a license from the Russian government to develop military equipment.
Federal SUE Shipyard ‘Morye’ is a shipbuilding company located in Feodosia, Crimea. It has increased its capacity to construct military vessels and began constructing a guided missile ship for the Russian Navy in May 2016.
OAO Ship Repair Center ‘Zvezdochka’ performs maintenance work on ships and submarines and is located in Severodvinsk, Russia. It has a branch in Sevastopol, Crimea that performs repairs and maintenance work on Russian naval vessels.
SUE RC ‘Feodosia Optical Plant’ produces military optical products and is located in Feodosia, Crimea. It holds a license from the Russian government to develop military equipment and produces optical sights for tanks and heavy weapons.
OAO ‘Uranis-Radiosistemy’ produces radio equipment and is located in Sevastopol, Crimea. It holds resident status in the so-called Republic of Crimea’s free economic zone and a license from the Russian government to develop military equipment.
Entities Operating in Crimean Maritime Sector
Finally, the Sovfracht-Sovmortrans Group is designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 because it operates in the Crimea region of Ukraine. Affiliated companies SMT-K and LLC Koksokhimtrans are being designated for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine and being owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Sovfracht-Sovmortrans Group. Sovfracht Managing Company LLC is being designated for being owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Sovfracht-Sovmortrans Group. Finally, OJSC Sovfracht and CJSC Sovmortrans are designated for being owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Sovfracht-Sovmortrans Group and Sovfracht Managing Company LLC.
The Sovfracht-Sovmortrans Group is a Russian shipping and logistics company comprised of several companies, including Sovfracht Managing Company LLC, OJSC Sovfracht, CJSC Sovmortrans, LLC Koksokhimtrans, and SMT-K, a unit of the group registered in Crimea. SMT-K, an abbreviation for Sovmortrans-Crimea, has offices in Simferopol and Kerch, Crimea, and is the operator for a ferry line between the previously designated Port of Kerch in Crimea and Kavkaz in Russia. LLC Koksokhimtrans is the registered operator and manager of two vessels that have served as ferries between Crimea and Russia. Sovfracht Managing Company LLC has oversight over OJSC Sovfracht and CJSC Sovmortrans. OJSC Sovfracht is the flagship company of the Sovfracht-Sovmortrans Group and specializes in transporting of general cargo, while CJSC Sovmortrans specializes in container shipping.
Identifications Under the Sectoral Sanctions Identification List (E.O. 13662)
Today, OFAC also identified a number of subsidiaries of Bank of Moscow and Gazprombank as being 50 percent or more owned by their respective parent entities, all of which were previously sanctioned pursuant to directives issued under E.O. 13662. Bank of Moscow and Gazprombank were previously sanctioned in July 2014; both are subject to Directive 1, which prohibits certain transactions or dealing in debt and equity of the sanctioned entities. OFAC has also identified subsidiaries of Gazprom, which is subject to Directive 4, which prohibits the exportation of goods, services, or technology in support of exploration or production for Russian deepwater, arctic offshore, or shale oil projects. The subsidiaries identified today were already subject to the same restrictions as their respective parent entities per OFAC’s Revised Guidance on Entities Owned by Persons Whose Property and Interests in Property Are Blocked (“50 percent rule guidance”), which can be found here. These identifications will help the public more effectively comply with the sanctions on these companies.
Concurrent with today’s action, OFAC is also issuing a general license to authorize certain transactions for a limited period of time necessary to divest holdings in Mostotrest. To see the general license, click here.
For the identifying information related to today’s action, click here.
European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini urged Russia and Ukraine to avoid escalating tensions …. ‘Any actions that could lead to a further escalation of the conflict must be avoided …. This includes eastern Ukraine, where we urge all parties to … complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.’ * * * ‘The European Union condemns and does not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol ….’