Deputy Russian Energy Minister Andrew Cherezov and three new Russian companies now face new sanctions from the European Union due to their involvement in the delivery of gas turbines to Crimea.
The additions contribute to the existing blacklist of 150 people and 37 firms subject to asset freezes and a travel ban to European countries.
“The decision of Brussels to include a number of Russian officials and companies as a retaliatory measure for alleged illegitimate supply of Siemens gas turbines to Crimea prompts deep regret,” according to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The EU’s stance against Russian interference in Ukraine began in 2014 when Moscow led a campaign to annex Crimea. Russia is currently in the process of constructing new energy infrastructure in Crimea, but Western sanctions continue to derail the efforts.
The $1.3-billion project is to have two new high-tech plans in Crimea to ensure electricity supply to the residents who have been suffering power outages since the annexation. The plants have been partially built, but have been designed to operate with gas turbines made by a Siemens subsidiary.
However, Siemens—whose officials have always said that there were no plans to provide such turbines—risks violating the EU sanctions against Russia, which state that “goods and technology for the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors or the exploration of oil, gas and mineral resources may not be exported to Crimean companies or for use in Crimea.”
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In April, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the Russian Parliament that “work is continuing despite problems related to the delivery of equipment from a Western company.”
“We are working on buying other equipment,” Novak added, without providing any additional details on its partner in corporate crime. The timeline for the construction of the power facility has been pushed back due to the sanctions, though the project has yet to be cancelled.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…