KIEV, August 14 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday passed a law that allows Kiev to impose 29 different types of sanctions against Russia, one of which covers the transit of Russian energy resources through its territory.
“With the purpose of protecting national interests, national security, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and its economic independence special economic and other restrictive measures may be utilized. Sanctions may be used by Ukraine against a foreign state, a foreign legal entity, or a [foreign] individual,” the law reads.
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers on Friday approved the bill, but it does not mean that there will be an automatic implementation of economic or restrictive measures.
The new law allows for the blocking of stocks, limiting sales operations, as well as partially or fully halting flights and the transit of Russian goods through Ukrainian territory. It also gives the government the right to annul or freeze licenses on certain types of activity, including mining and energy extraction operations.
By implementing these sanctions, Ukraine joins the group of countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia, which includes the United States, the European Union and some other countries.
Western states have been imposing sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over Russia’s alleged involvement in the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, targeting mainly the financial and energy sectors.
A Ukrainian energy transit ban would be nothing new, as attempts to hinder energy transit from Russia have been made before. The European Commission has unsuccessfully tried to hamper the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline that would bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to European countries.
The Commission has stated that the project violated the EU’s Third Energy Package and tried to ban the companies involved in gas production from owning long-distance pipelines in the region.
Ukraine is currently on a prepayment gas delivery system that Gazprom insisted on after Kiev demanded and subsequently declined a gas price reduction, also refusing to pay its debt of more than $5 billion.