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10 Nov, 2020 13:49

Ukraine threatens sanctions as Nicaragua becomes first nation to open consulate in Crimea since it returned to Russia in 2014

Ukraine threatens sanctions as Nicaragua becomes first nation to open consulate in Crimea since it returned to Russia in 2014

Ukraine has threatened sanctions against Nicaragua after it became the first country, on Tuesday, to open a consulate in Crimea since the 2014 Maidan. Kiev considers the peninsula to be illegally occupied by Moscow.

In 2014, following Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Nicaragua was one of just 10 countries to vote alongside Moscow at the UN General Assembly in support of the region’s status as part of the country. Six years on, much to Kiev’s chagrin, the country has become the first to open an honorary consulate in Crimea, in its capital city of Simferopol.

On Monday, Crimea’s Deputy Prime Minister Georgy Muradov announced that the honorary consulate’s opening would be attended by Alba Asucena Torres, the Nicaraguan ambassador in Moscow.

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Nicaragua’s intention to open the facility in Crimea has been known for some time, and has already been discussed on numerous occasions by Kiev. In August, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a complaint with Managua, threatening the implementation of sanctions. Two months later, Ukraine’s cabinet met to discuss measures against Nicaragua. Now the consulate has been officially opened, it remains to be seen whether Kiev will follow through.

According to the website of Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon, Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Reznikov lamented Nicaragua’s actions as being “against the national security interests of our state,” saying that the placement of a consulate “indulges the armed aggression of Russia against Ukraine.”

An honorary consul, unlike a career official, is generally not remunerated for their work, and can be a citizen of the host country. Nicaragua’s consul in Crimea is Oleg Belaventsev, a Russian naval officer who is sanctioned by both the US and the EU for his role as presidential envoy to the Crimean District from 2014-2016.

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