President Volodymyr Zelenskyy imposed sanctions on 37 Russian groups and 108 individuals, including a former prime minister and a former education minister. The sanctions were imposed to combat wartime kidnappings of children in Ukraine and other “Russian terror.”
“We are increasing state pressure on them and each of them must be responsible for what they have done,” he said in a speech on Saturday (18/11) evening, after his office issued the decision he had signed.
Zelenskyy did not link any particular individual or group to any particular offense. The decree saw the imposition of 10-year sanctions against individuals and 5-year sanctions against non-profit groups, including one referred to in English as the “Russian Children’s Foundation.”
Zelenskyy said in his speech that the list includes “those involved in the kidnapping and deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories” and individuals who “in various ways aided Russian terror against Ukraine.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo address a media conference at the prime minister’s office in Brussels, Wednesday, October 11, 2023. (Photo: via AP)
Some of the newly sanctioned people, including many Russian citizens, had previously been punished with separate or similar sentences.
They include Dmytro Tabachnyk, the former education and science minister whose Ukrainian citizenship was revoked in February, and former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.
Under former President Viktor Yanukovich, Azarov previously had assets and property frozen, as well as other penalties. The two men fled Ukraine for Russia in 2014 after a crackdown on street protests that killed more than 100 demonstrators in Kyiv.
Others sentenced include Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed leader of Crimea, and Leonid Pasechnik, whom Putin appointed as leader of Luhansk, the eastern region of Ukraine that Russia annexed in 2022.
The sanctioned Russian groups include several whose names or websites suggest they work with children.
One of the groups subject to sanctions is called Kvartal Lui. The name is similar to the name of an organization whose website states its founder is Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova. Kyiv previously imposed sanctions on Lvova-Belova in October 2022.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague this month issued arrest warrants against Lvova-Belova, along with President Vladimir Putin, accusing them of committing war crimes by deporting children from Ukraine.
Kyiv says some 20,000 children have been transferred to Russia or Russian-controlled territory without the consent of their families or guardians, which it says is a war crime that meets the definition of genocide in the United Nations (UN) treaty. (ah/ft)