Thursday, May 26, 2022

Ukrainian parliament approves sanctions on hundreds of Russians

Ukraine’s parliament has approved imposing sanctions on 351 Russians, including lawmakers who supported the recognition of independence of the two separatist-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine and the use of Russian troops there.

The sanctions restrict almost all possible types of activities, in particular a ban on entry into Ukraine, and prohibit access to assets, capital, property and licenses for business.

The Ukraine’s Security Council was due to impose the sanctions after the vote.

Ukraine’s parliament has also voted to approve a draft law that gives permission to Ukrainians to carry firearms and act in self-defence.

“The adoption of this law is fully in the interests of the state and society,” the authors of the draft law said in a note, adding that the law was needed due to “existing threats and dangers for the citizens of Ukraine”.

The Ukraine’s foreign ministry has also warned the country’s nationals not to visit Russia and urged its citizens already there to leave the country.

“The foreign ministry recommends that citizens of Ukraine refrain from any trips to the Russian Federation, and those who are in this country to leave its territory immediately,” the ministry said in a newly-issued travel advisory.

Ukraine is set to impose a state of emergency on all of its territory, apart from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions where such a measure has already been in place since 2014, the country’s top security official says.

Oleksiy Danilov stated that the measure would initially last for 30 days. It could be extended for another 30 days if required, he added.

The state of emergency must be formally approved by Ukraine’s parliament. A vote is expected to take place in the coming days.

Ukraine’s military has put the country’s more than 200,000 reservist forces on notice that they will be mobilised as tensions with Russia escalate.

“Reservists aged 18 to 60 will be called up,” Ukrainian Ground Forces said in a Facebook message.

“The call will start today. The maximum service life is one year,” the military unit added.

Russian President Putin noted Moscow is ready to look for “diplomatic solutions” to the crisis but has stressed that Russia’s interests are “non-negotiable”.

“Our country is always open for direct and honest dialogue, for the search for diplomatic solutions to the most complex problems,” he said in a video address to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day, a public holiday in Russia.

But he added that “the interests of Russia, the security of our citizens, are non-negotiable for us.”

Putin spoke after parliament’s upper house, the Federation Council, on Tuesday gave him unanimous approval to deploy “peacekeepers” to two breakaway Ukrainian regions now recognised by Moscow as independent, and potentially into other parts of Ukraine.

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