Russian sanctions freeze assets of Ukrainian top leaders, Poroshenko′s son | News | DW | 01.11.2018
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Russian sanctions freeze assets of Ukrainian top leaders, Poroshenko's son

Moscow has slapped economic sanctions on hundreds of Ukrainian nationals, including ministers, senior lawmakers and President Petro Poroshenko's son. Russia said the measures could be revoked if Kyiv lifts theirs.

A signpost showing the distance to Kyiv, Berlin and Moscow in east Ukrainan village of Kalinovo (Imago/Itar-Tass)

A signpost showing the distance to Kyiv, Berlin and Moscow in east Ukrainan village of Kalinovo

The Russian government has frozen funds and put barriers around property belonging to 322 Ukrainian nationals and 68 businesses on Russian soil, according to a decree signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday.

The document describes the sanctions as a response to Kyiv's "unfriendly efforts" against Russian citizens.

Moscow targeted the property of Ukraine's defense and interior ministers, the heads of Ukraine's military command and the state's security council, its envoy to the United States, the parliamentary speaker, judges on the country's Constitutional Court, and various other top officials.

Two former prime ministers, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Yulia Tymoshenko, are also on the list.

Ukraine - Julia Tymoshenko delivers a speech in 2018 (Reuters/V. Ogirenko)

Yulia Tymoshenko spent years in prison on corruption charges before her rehabilitation in 2014

"To be honest, the Kremlin sanctions are of little concern to me," Tymoshenko said on her Facebook page. "I don't have any businesses — neither here (in Ukraine) nor there."

The 58-year-old Tymoshenko intends to run for president in 2019.

Naftogaz CEO in crosshairs

The sanctions also target the oldest son of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, 33-year-old lawmaker Olexiy, but not the president himself. Dmitro Yarosh, formerly the leader of the Ukrainian far-right organization "Right sector" is also on the list.

Several top Ukrainian businessmen were also hit by Russian sanctions, including the CEO of Ukraine's energy giant Naftogaz,Andriy Kobolyev, and billionaire tycoon Victor Pinchuk, owner of Interpipe, a Ukrainian company producing steel pipes and railway wheels.

The economies of the two former allies remain interlocked despite Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the conflict with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. In 2015, Ukrainian's national security and defense council imposed sanctions on 1,124 Russian nationals and 156 "legal entities," and the list has since been expanded several times.

Moscow waits for Kyiv to de-escalate

The new Russian sanctions can be revoked if Kyiv rolls back their measures, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

"This possibility should certainly not be excluded," he told reporters. "If we reach this moment in when we start taking measures to normalize and de-escalate tensions between our two countries in the foreseeable future."

The Ukrainian government said they would analyze the effects of the Russian move in the coming weeks. Previously, Kyiv estimated that various restrictions on trade with Russia already caused the exchange to drop to under 50 percent of the pre-conflict levels.

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dj/sms (Reuters, Interfax, Ukrainski Novini, dpa, AP)