“Seven years after the beginning of the occupation, Russia continues persecuting and punishing those residents of the Crimean Peninsula who rejected Russia-imposed citizenship. Starting from 20 March 2021, all non-Russian citizens are banned from owning land plots in almost the entire peninsula, with the exception of several districts,” Permanent Representative of Ukraine to International Organizations in Vienna Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk said at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on March 25.
He emphasized that Ukraine strongly condemned the relevant decree by the President of the Russian Federation as “an illegal act by the occupying Power, which violates international humanitarian law.” “This forcible deprivation of property is legally null and void: after the de-occupation of Crimea, the rights of land owners violated by the occupying Power will be fully restored,” the Permanent Representative of Ukraine said.
He noted that Putin’s cronies and local so-called officials had stolen private enterprises and land plots in Crimea in pursuit of additional income after the occupation. “Russia’s own model of governance, in which business success heavily depends on loyalty of its owner to the corrupt regime, was imposed on the occupied Crimea. We have already informed participating States on some of such cases, for instance last December on the illegal sale of the Ukrainian ‘Masandra’ Concern to a subsidiary company of “Rossiya” Bank, controlled by Mr. Yurii Kovalchuk, one of those Putin’s cronies,” Tsymbaliuk said.
In this context, the Ukrainian diplomat informed the delegations that President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky had enacted the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on restrictive measures against 26 foreigners and 81 legal entities, including a number of companies located in Crimea, in particular, the abovementioned “Masandra” Concern. “Thieves must not benefit from their actions. We call on participating States to stick to the policy of non-recognition of Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, including through sanctions,” the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to International Organizations in Vienna added.
As reported, on March 20, 2021, Russian President Putin's decree banning foreign citizens from owning land came into force in most of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, temporarily occupied by Russia. The decree affects Ukrainian citizens who refused to receive Russian passports.
Restrictions are imposed on land ownership in 19 municipalities of Crimea (out of 25), including Yevpatoria, Kerch, Yalta, Sudak towns. The ban also applies to 12 municipality districts of the city of Sevastopol. Land ownership in Simferopol, Dzhankoi, Krasnoperekopsk, Bilohirsk, Krasnohvardiyske and Pervomaiske districts was not banned.