News / Europe

Kyiv: Russian Banks Fund Separatists

Combat vehicles with a Russian flag on one of them and gunmen on top are parked in downtown of Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
Combat vehicles with a Russian flag on one of them and gunmen on top are parked in downtown of Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
As Western powers consider introducing further sanctions against Russia, Ukraine's government says it has evidence that four Russian banks are involved in funding pro-Russian separatist agitation in eastern Ukraine and is urging Western politicians to sanction them.

U.S. President Barack Obama accused Russia this week of fomenting the separatist disturbances in Ukraine's restive eastern region, and he has warned Moscow of more financial sanctions.

Ukraine's government, which is struggling to contain a tide of separatism in the east that has seen armed pro-Russian agitators seize government buildings in nearly a dozen cities, says some of Russia's top banks, including Russia's largest, the state-owned Sberbank, are helping to fund the separatists.

Senior British Conservative politician John Whittingdale -- who is leading a U.K. parliamentary delegation to Kyiv -- said if Thursday's four-way talks in Geneva between senior diplomats from Russia, the European Union, the United States and Ukraine fail, then the West should go beyond previously announced financial sanctions on members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and start targeting Russian banks.

"We were advised that there is evidence to suggest certain Russian banks have been directly involved in the financing of separatist occupations in eastern Ukraine. If the evidence is there that clearly in my view would justify taking action not just against individuals but also against Russian financial institutions," said Whittingdale. "Certainly in my view there is now a strong case for taking action against Russian financial institutions."

Speaking Thursday during his annual televised call-in program, Putin denied any Russian troops are assisting separatist agitation in eastern Ukraine. But for the first time, he admitted that Russian troops had entered the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea before locals there voted in a March referendum to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

Putin also denounced the West's imposition last month of financial sanctions on his inner circle of advisers.

Ukraine's chief prosecutor, Oleg Makhnitskiy, told a Ukrainian television channel Wednesday that he has launched an investigation into Sberbank for funding pro-Moscow separatists. The bank is the third largest in Eastern Europe and has branches in Ukraine.

Ukrainian government officials told VOA the bank owned by Russia's energy giant Gazprom also is under investigation.

Whittingdale, a former private secretary to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said the West should move quickly if the Geneva talks fail to resolve the crisis over eastern Ukraine, but he admitted that for economic sanctions to be effective, all European Union nations would have to agree.

"Sanctions are only really effective, if you can obtain international agreement. There is no point in our closing the city of London, if money moves to Frankfurt," said Whittingdale.

Sign-off by all EU states could prove elusive.
 
European foreign ministers have started discussing which sanctions to impose on Russia in the event the Geneva talks fail and plan to meet next week. But the Financial Times newspaper Thursday reported Europe's resolve to impose tough economic sanctions on Moscow is cracking under corporate lobbying, as companies warn governments that any retaliation from the Kremlin could cost them dearly.
 
Russia also may waver, though, if faced by further Western action. According to Adrian Karatnycky, a foreign policy expert at the American think tank the Atlantic Council, Putin told Russian business executives not to worry about the prospect of sanctions during the standoff over Crimea because they should put country before profits.
 
"It was very clear Mr. Putin is willing to consider actions that can have a deleterious  effect on the Russian market. But the question is how deep is his tolerance and how deep is the tolerance of the overall Russian elite to further such actions," said Karatnycky.
 
Next week, Russian resolve may be tested, if Western powers can reach an agreement on sanctions.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
April 17, 2014 4:36 PM
The U.S. President Obama is the best friend of Russia, permitting Russia to annex Crimea of Ukraine. He is the President who ignored the solemn promise of defending Ukraine when they surrendered their nuclear arsenal, the third biggest in the world. President Obama is the friend of the Russian banks that indulge in the support of the Russian speaking people in Crimea and the Ukraine. That is why his luke warm economic sanctions are against some of the friends of Putin, but not against the Russian banks and Russia.


by: Erik P from: UK
April 17, 2014 12:49 PM
Wow, so what. The CIA funded Nicaraguan drugs lords. US banks have funded terrorism, HSBC laundered billions for Mexican drug cartels. Seems a bit rich blaming Russian banks for something like this. More hypocrisy from the US.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid