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EU sanctions president of Rostelecom and CEO of VK

Mikhail Oseevsky Rostelecom.jpg
Rostelecom

The European Union (EU) last night announced sanctions on Rostelecom president Mikhail Oseevsky and other industry leaders because of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The European Union (EU) last night announced sanctions on Rostelecom president Mikhail Oseevsky and other industry leaders because of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Others in the list of senior businesspeople are Vladimir Kiriyenko, CEO of VK Company, which runs social networking site VKontakte and the email service and internet portal mail.ru.

The EU said that they and others in the list – 14 in all – as well as companies were being sanctioned because they were “supporting and benefitting from the government of the Russian Federation, … [or] providing a substantial source of revenue to the government of the Russian Federation.

The EU said that “while EU sanctions inherently have an effect in non-EU countries, as they are a foreign policy tool, the measures apply only within EU jurisdiction. In other words, the obligations they impose are binding on EU nationals or persons located in the EU or doing business here.”

Sanctions are expected to restrict severely the ability of the people named to travel to the EU or do business in any of its 27 countries.

The move was a response to what the EU called “a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”, that is “grossly violating international law and the principles of the UN Charter, and undermining European and global security and stability”. The Union published its list of sanctioned people in its Official Journal.

The EU said that Oseevsky (pictured), who has been president of Rostelecom since March 2017, “is a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin and that he is supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as stability and security in Ukraine”.

Rostelecom is Russia’s largest provider of digital services and solutions, with presence in all market segments and covering millions of households, as well as governmental and private organisations. It “provides services for the Russian government, but also generates an important source of revenue for it”, said the EU.

In late 2019 Rostelecom launched its core regional data centre facility in Ekaterinburg, around 1,000km east of Moscow. The company said then that it plans to launch core data centre facilities across all federal districts of Russia by 2024.

One of the others sanctioned last night, Kiriyenko, is the son of Sergey Kiriyenko, first deputy chief of staff to Putin.

VK Company is controlled by the media division of energy company Gazprom, a state-owned company which is the major source of income to the Russian government. The EU says Kiriyenko “actively supports, materially or financially, or benefits from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea [in 2014] or the destabilisation of Ukraine”.

The EU has also sanctioned Sergey Kulikov, chairman of Russian nanotechnology company Rusnano as well as first deputy chairman of the board of the Military Industrial Commission. Rusnano is a Russian innovation development institution created in the framework of Putin’s nanotechnology strategy.