EU slaps sanctions on former Ukraine leader Yanukovych

Former president of Ukraine,Viktor Yanukovych

© APA | Former president of Ukraine,Viktor Yanukovych

# 05 August 2022 09:17 (UTC +04:00)

The EU member states imposed sanctions Thursday (4 August) on Ukraine’s ousted pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr for their alleged role in threatening Ukraine’s security, APA reports citing the organization's statement.

In a statement, the European Council said the pair were added to an existing EU sanctions list set up “in response to the ongoing unjustified and unprovoked Russian military aggression against Ukraine.”

Yanukovych was president of Ukraine between February 2010 and February 2014, when he was overthrown by a popular uprising against his government’s turn away from the West and towards Moscow.

He lives in Russia, where the Revolution of Dignity, also known as the Maidan Revolution of February 2014, is considered a coup d’état.

President Vladimir Putin’s Russia responded to the defeat of its ally by seizing Ukraine’s territory of Crimea and an enclave in the eastern Donbas region. In February this year, Moscow launched a full invasion.

Several European Union and NATO member states have begun to supply advanced weapons to Kyiv to help it defend itself against Russia, and Brussels has adopted an escalating series of sanctions packages.

The EU argues that the now 72-year-old Russia-based Yanukovych still plays a “role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and the state’s stability and security.”

The sanctions document published on Thursday in the EU’s Official Journal accused Yanukovych of plotting to return to power in Ukraine if the Russian invasion succeeds in toppling President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“According to different sources, Mr. Viktor Yanukovych has been part of a Russian special operation, aimed at replacing the Ukrainian President with him, during the first phases of the unprovoked, illegal military aggression against Ukraine,” the journal said.

His son, Oleksandr, was placed under sanctions for the same reason and for “conducting transactions with the separatist groups in the Donbas region of Ukraine,” meaning the Russian proxy forces in the enclave.

The 49-year-old is accused of becoming wealthy thanks to connections in his father’s former regime and of maintaining energy businesses and real estate in the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk republics, territories controlled by Russia in the Donbas.

“The separatist OPLOT battalion (listed since February 2015) protected his real-estate development projects in the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic,” the sanctions posting said.

As sanctioned individuals, Yanukovych senior and junior will be subject to an EU visa ban and a freeze on any assets held inside the bloc.