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West urged to sanction Russian company fuelling Putin’s war machine

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Ukraine: Inna Sovsun discusses possible Rosatom sanctions

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The West must include Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear power company, in its list of sanctioned entities to prevent it from being used as a means of generating income to power Vladimir Putin’s war machine, a Kyiv-based economist has said. Vlad Vlasiuk also warned Viktor Orban-led Hungary’s decision to allow the company to build a nuclear power station there represented a threat to the unity of both the European Union and NATO as far as support for Ukraine was concerned.

Mr Vlasiuk was commenting in the wake of stymied attempts by western officials to target the company, despite being urged to do so by Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s President.

The EU’s recently unveiled package of measures target specific sectors, such as aviation or military, and impose visa restrictions and asset freezes on both individuals and companies – but Rosatom remains exempt, partly as a result of concerns about a likely Hungary veto.

Mr Vlasiuk, who works for the Office of the President of Ukraine, and who is also Deputy Head of the Task Force Ukraine, spearheaded by Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, told “This week, Putin delivered his Presidential address to the Federal Assembly, where he urged Rosatom to boost its nuclear forces and prepare nuclear weapon testing, while also suspending a landmark nuclear arms control treaty.

“This is a call for conflict escalation, and as such, targeting Russia’s nuclear industry would be one of the toughest measures the EU could implement at this stage in the war.”

Rosatom continued to position itself as a civil nuclear company, but the purposes it had been serving were “crossing blurred lines”, Mr Vlasiuk said.

He explained: “There are some reports indicating that Rosatom is working with the Russian military-industrial complex to help circumvent sanctions by supplying components, technologies, and raw materials for rocket fuel to companies that are already under sanctions. This makes Rosatom sanctionable.”

Mr Vlasiuk welcomed what is the EU’s tenth package of measures – but stressed more needed to be done.

He continued: “We call for more sanctions on Russian propagandists spreading misinformation and promoting Putin’s illegal war, the diamond industry, as well as strong financial sanctions and a complete ban on investments in the EU from Russia.”

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With specific reference to Hungary, Mr Vlasiuk said: “We are fully aware that countries within NATO remain sovereign states and must act in accordance with their national interests.

“However, the one and only factor that ensures an effective sanctions regime is the EU’s unity and unanimity.

“EU countries must strengthen their collective effort and align on detailed sanctions proposals to ensure successful results.

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“The ambiguity in Hungary’s foreign policy can pose a threat to the bloc’s unity and will only make it more difficult to weaken Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and bringing this illegal war to an end.”

A report published by the Royal United Services Institute earlier this month suggests Russia has exported just over £840million-worth of nuclear energy-related goods and materials since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Neither the USA nor the UK has sanctioned Rosatom either, although understands London reserves the right to do so in the future.

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