Ukrainian Officials React to Kremlin’s New Sanctions List
1 November, 2018

When Russian President Putin signed a decree to impose economic sanctions on Ukraine at the end of October, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that the list would include hundreds of Ukrainian individuals and entities which have harmed Russia in some way.

Russia has now published this list of 322 politicians and senior officials, as well as 68 companies. Here’s how some of these newly sanctioned Ukrainians have reacted.

READ MORE: Russia's Sanctions Against Ukraine: Who Could Become a Target?

Secretary of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov posted a video on Facebook, where he says that his only comment regarding the sanctions list is: “They’re trying to scare hedgehogs with a bare ass! Full stop.”

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that “there are millions of Ukrainians, not 322. And they won’t be knocked down either by sanctions, or criminal cases.”

Presidential hopeful and leader of the Batkivshchyna party Yulia Tymoshenko and Radical party leader Oleh Lyashko have both said they are not worried about the sanctions because they have no business in Russia.

“If I’m being honest, the Kremlin’s sanctions are of little concern to me. I neither have business here, nor there," Tymoshenko stated, adding that she was surprised sanctions had not been imposed on the Roshen confectionery company, or the ship-building and armament company Kuznya na Rybalskomu, which are both owned by current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

This is also the case for Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who does not see much significance in the Kremlin’s sanction list.

“If Russia thinks they’re scaring people by this, this is hardly the case. With regards to myself, this means I’m on the right track.”

While some may feel indifferent towards the sanctions, there are those, like Lutsenko, who welcome them and see this more of a badge of honor.

Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelian, People’s Front party leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and the parliament’s First Deputy chair Iryna Gerashchenko are glad to have been included, as this highlights their pro-Ukrainian position in the face of Russia.  

“I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t ended up on the sanctions list. It’s shameful for a Ukrainian to be a friend of Moscow. Therefore I am comforted by the fact I’m included on the sanctions list. The Kremlin has recognized myself and many of my colleagues as people with clear pro-Ukrainian stances,” Omelian stated.

Gerashchenko expressed similar sentiments on Facebook, adding that “it’s nice to be on a list with similar people.”

However, Gerashchenko also mentioned that she has long been banned from traveling to Russia, so the economic sanctions will not affect her.

Yatsenyuk also congratulated his sanctioned colleagues, further commenting that Ukraine should respond to Russia via the international courts.

“This is not a sanctions list. Most of the names on it are real patriots of Ukraine,” Yatsenyuk said.

These sentiments have also been echoed by President Petro Poroshenko. During a briefing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Kyiv, Poroshenko stated:

“With a few exceptions, this is a list of honorable people, including my son, including half of my administration, with a great number of MPs, members of government. Being on this list is a kind of state award.”

However, both President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman are not featured on the list. It is impossible for the Russian Federation to impose sanctions on a head of state.