EU Expands Sanctions against Russia over Delivery of Siemens Turbines to Occupied Crimea

A turbine at the Siemens Gas Turbine Plant in Berlin, Germany, 02 March 2017. Photo: Clemens Bilan/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

  • EU has expanded blacklist under one of its three sets of sanctions over Russia’s encroachments against Ukraine.
  • Sanction expansion has been brought about by the illegal transfer by Russia of Siemens-made electricity turbines to the occupied Crimean Peninsula.
  • Establishing an independent power supply for Crimea supports its separation from Ukraine, which is why the EU sanctions ban supply of infrastructure equipment.
  • Siemens originally sold the turbines in question for use in Russia, and their transfer to the illegal annexed Crimea is a violation, the EU states.

The European Union has expanded its sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, after gas turbines of German producer Siemens were transferred by Russia to the Crimea.

The fact that electricity turbines produced by Germany’s Siemens had been delivered to Crimea, Ukraine’s Black Sea Peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014, in spite of the bans in the European Union’s sanctions against Moscow, was first revealed by media reports in early July.

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula back in 2014, and the ongoing pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine’s Donbass region since then have resulted in an ongoing standoff with the West.

In the winter of 2013-2014, the Euromaidan Revolution in Kiev ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, and promised to bring Ukraine closer to the West, including through EU and N ATO membership.

In response, led by President Vladimir Putin, in February-March 2014, Russia occupied and then annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea.

Shortly after Russia’s seizure of Crimea, a pro-Russian insurgency possibly instigated and aided by Moscow began in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine and has been raging ever since.

Since then, the war in Ukraine has claimed some 10,000 lives, and has displaced millions of people.

The Ukrainian’s standoff with the forces of the separatist so called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republic along a 400 km (250-mile) frontline has thus turned into a “cold’ conflict with “hot” flashpoints.

The US, the EU, and other Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia over both the annexation of the Crimea and the insurgency in Ukraine’s Donbass which the West deems to be instigated and supported by Moscow.

In June, top Russian officials recently the West to “stop obsessing” over the Crimea, and kept denying Moscow’s involvement in the war in Donbass.

The US has just introduced new sanctions against Russia, and back in June, the EU renewed one of its three sets of sanctions against Russia over the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing war in Ukraine, and also extended its third set of sanctions. Another set of EU sanctions against Russia was renewed in March.

‘Undermining Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity’

Because of the delivery of the Siemens turbines to the Crimea, the European Union added on Friday three persons and three companies to its sanctions list on Russia over Moscow’s actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity, announced the press service of the European Council, the EU’s top decision-making body.

The three Russian nationals and three companies added to the EU blacklist over Russia’s encroachments against Ukraine were involved in the transfer of the Siemens gas turbines to Crimea, it said.

“The EU has not recognized the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation,” the European Council stated.

“As part of its non-recognition policy, the Council has prohibited the supply of key equipment for infrastructure projects in Crimea and Sevastopol in important sectors, including gas turbines in the energy sector,” it elaborated.

The EU Council cautioned further that establishing an independent power supply for Crimea and Sevastopol supported their separation from Ukraine, and undermined “the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

Gas turbines are a substantial element in the development of new power plants, it pointed out.

The three persons were added to the sanctions list for their responsibility in supplying Crimea with gas turbines from Russia.

The turbines were originally sold by Siemens for use in the territory of the Russian Federation.

“The subsequent transfer of the turbines to Crimea was in breach of contractual provisions covering the original sale by Siemens,” the EU Council said.

The companies placed under sanctions are the contracting party which purchased gas turbines and is responsible for the transfer, the current owner of the gas turbines, and a company specializing in control and communication systems for power plants, including in the Crimean cities of Sevastopol and Simferopol.

The EU sanctions in question consist of an asset freeze and a travel ban which will now apply to a total of 153 persons and 40 entities based in or affiliated with Russia.

The legal acts, including the names of the persons and the statements of reasons for listing them, are available in the EU Official Journal of 4 August 2017. The EU Council adopted these legal acts by written procedure.

Other EU measures in place in response to the Ukraine crisis include economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the  Russian economy, currently in place until 31 January 2018; and restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, limited to the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, currently in place until 23 June 2018.

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