European international locations that proceed to purchase Russian oil and gasoline, and the London attorneys and bankers who serve Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs, are complicit in warfare crimes, the Ukrainian president’s high financial adviser has claimed.
He additionally issued a warning to corporations which have helped Russia preserve promoting its oil and gasoline, the proceeds of which he estimated at $1.4bn a day, saying Kyiv would someday sue commodity merchants and insurers concerned in coping with the Putin regime and its industries.
He stated Kyiv was monitoring which companies have been buying and selling with Russia and vowed that they’d face authorized motion sooner or later. “If Russians are committing war crimes, even genocide, whoever is supplying Russia with this bloody money is making the same war crime,” stated Ustenko.
“We know the name of the ship, the flag, the name of the captain, the volume of oil, we know how much money was paid for that oil, the port of destination, the company who sold the insurance. We are going to work with this information. We have other things to do which are much more urgent now, but we are watching everybody who is doing that.
“Our belief is that if companies are making war crimes, we are going to prosecute and sue all these people. Maybe in a year, maybe in 10 years, but we are going to find these people.”
Ustenko referred to as for a lot more durable worldwide sanctions on Russia, together with the sale of frozen property similar to “football clubs and nice apartments”, with the proceeds going in the direction of Ukraine’s defence and its postwar reconstruction plan.
“People in Europe … believe that they can help us, that they’re our great friends, and indeed they are,” stated Ustenko. “But they do not understand that by supplying this money to Putin, they are funding his military machine. They’re using it for killing us, for doing the terrible things they did in Bucha and in other places.”
He stated final week’s announcement from German international minister Annalena Baerbock, who stated Berlin would finish Russian oil imports by the top of the yr and part out gasoline thereafter, didn’t go far sufficient. “The message … was completely unacceptable, that Germans still agree to pay for killing our people,” he stated, including that Germany would face “national shame” except it took swifter motion.
Oil imports might be stopped in a single day, and the ensuing influence on gasoline prices was a worth value paying, he stated. Ustenko acknowledged that weaning Europe off gasoline could be more durable however stated proceeds from ongoing purchases needs to be held in escrow, with Russian suppliers solely capable of entry them after the warfare is over.
He additionally took goal at London-based insurers and world commodity buying and selling homes which have helped facilitate Russian cargoes, in addition to the military of attorneys and bankers – many primarily based within the UK – who serve Kremlin-allied oligarchs. “Of course we’re receiving great support but it can never be enough. Tankers lifting Russian oil have insurance provided from London,” he stated, calling on the UK authorities to forestall the supply of canopy for such shipments.
“We don’t understand and we don’t want to see how many Ukrainians must be killed [before something is done]. It troubles me that in terms of Europe, we’re always talking about money. In Ukraine we’re talking about human life.”
A spokesperson for Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance coverage market, together with delivery, stated it “supports and remains focused on the delivery of a global sanctions regime against the Russian state, which send an important message that Russia’s invasion of a peaceful country is unacceptable”.
International commodity merchants similar to Trafigura, Glencore, Vitol and Gunvor have additionally continued to purchase and promote cargoes of Russian oil.
Ustenko stated he had personally written to the bosses of the world’s main merchants, pleading with them to not proceed doing enterprise with Russia. Some wrote again and promised to chop ties however then broke their guarantees, he stated. Others had not responded and as an alternative continued to commerce Russian shipments.
The 4 commodity merchants instructed the Observer they have been legally sure to abide by present contracts however that they condemned the invasion of Ukraine and weren’t signing new offers.
Ustenko additionally urged attorneys and bankers working for Russian oligarchs to think about their very own households struggling the atrocities perpetrated by invading forces in Ukraine. “Are you going to accept that? If yes, then do nothing for us. If you think that it’s immoral, then act immediately. Even if your government does not understand, you have the power.”
Ustenko stated Ukraine’s defence and its postwar reconstruction needs to be funded by seizing the frozen property of the Russian central financial institution, in addition to these owned by billionaire oligarchs topic to sanctions. “I’m talking about football clubs, I’m talking about nice apartments, houses, I’m talking about other properties in the UK.”