Ukraine’s President signs law allowing sanctions against Russia

Ukraine’s President signs law allowing sanctions against Russia
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a law allowing future sanctions against Russia, which could include a ban on the transit of Russian gas, and sanctions against Russian banks, according to the website of the upper parliament.

The President’s signature means that Ukraine now can legally enact special economic restrictions against Russia should it choose to, according to the document posted on the website Wednesday.

On August 14, the Ukrainian Parliament approved the first reading of the bill that allows Ukraine to impose sanctions on Russia. They will apply to 172 individuals and 65 companies that have supported the reunification of Crimea with Russia, and those that “violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine” according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk.

The prime minister has said the sanctions against Russia may include a ban on the transit of Russian natural gas across its territory.

Russia’s Gazprom supplies the EU with 30 percent of its gas needs, about half of which is delivered via Ukraine, meaning the ban could block 15 percent of EU gas supplies.

Russia has other supply routes to Europe-through Belarus and via the Nord Stream pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

Gazprom is currently in a row with Ukraine’s Naftogaz over pricing, and in June began requiring prepayment for supplies to Ukrainian customers, but continues to ship gas through Ukraine to European clients.

Russia turned off gas to Ukraine in 2009 after Gazprom claimed Ukraine stole gas intended for European customers. After this, the Russian company decided to build the alternative Nord Stream pipeline route to guarantee supplies to Europe.

The sanctions law also intends to restrict the Russian media and other services, such as post.
Kiev is also preparing economic sanctions that would ban Russian imports of food, cosmetics, medicine, alcohol, and caviar, according to Ukrainian media sources.