Sanctions on Russia must be long-term in order to force it to end the war against Ukraine and prevent similar aggression in the future, – Head of Zelensky’s office

Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak emphasizes that Russia’s war against Ukraine is an aggression against the whole of Europe and an attack on generally accepted principles of international relations, and the aggressor must be stopped by joint efforts, including systemic long-term sanctions.

He noted this during an online meeting with influential European officials and diplomats.

“It would be naive to expect that the Russian leadership will abandon its plans due to lower living standards of Russian citizens. So we need to make sure that the financial system does not cope with this burden, that Russian industry does not have the technical capabilities, technology and materials to produce weapons of war. Therefore, sanctions must be long-term,” Andriy Yermak said.

The Head of the President’s Office reminded that a team of leading international and Ukrainian experts (Yermak-McFaul group), formed as a result of the initiative of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, had developed an Action Plan to strengthen sanctions on Russia.

First of all, it envisages a full embargo on Russia’s energy resources, the main source of funding for Russia’s military machine. It is proposed to maximize transport and insurance sanctions, disconnect all Russian financial institutions from the world system.

Recognition of Russia as a state – sponsor of terrorism and its exclusion from the FATF, the expansion of personal sanctions against the vast majority of Russian officials, oligarchs and propagandists are very important. Further sanctions against Russian state-owned enterprises are also needed.

Andriy Yermak stressed that it is also important to impose secondary sanctions on states, individuals or legal entities that facilitate Russia’s aggression or help it circumvent sanctions.

“I would like to emphasize that the Plan envisages strengthening transparency measures and deepening coordination. Synchronization of sanctions policies in time and legal limits is a very important factor in increasing their effectiveness,” he said.

In addition, Andriy Yermak informed about a new initiative of the group of sanction experts – the Roadmap presented on May 9, which contains a step-by-step strategy with detailed recommendations for the European Union on the implementation of energy sanctions.

“We are making clear proposals to minimize Russia’s oil revenues during the transition period and to ensure a managed phased embargo on Russian gas imports. Our proposals are aimed at reducing the shock to European economies from such steps. It is first of all about the regulated import tax or tariff and keeping funds for energy on a special escrow account,” he said.

The Head of the President’s Office noted that the Yermak-McFaul international expert group commends the decision of the European Commission to impose a total ban on imports of all Russian oil, which is very important.

Andriy Yermak stressed that such decisions should be made quickly today, as they will help save as many lives of Ukrainians as possible, reduce the destruction in our country due to the war, and reduce the food crisis in the world with all its consequences. Decisions to support Ukraine in the trade and economic sphere are also important.

According to him, Ukraine’s active cooperation with the EU during this difficult period proves that our country is already part of a single European team, and this is facing increasing support among citizens of European countries. And Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction and deeper economic integration with the establishment of new high-tech enterprises will also benefit European corporations.

Andriy Yermak stated that Ukraine is determined to continue the integration process, and proposals on “alternatives to European integration” are unacceptable for our country.

“Ukraine must become part of a united Europe as soon as possible. This is a matter of mutual security,” he said.

Answering the questions of the participants of the meeting about how else Europe can support Ukraine, Andriy Yermak noted that our country still needs more weapons, and European capitals know exactly what kinds of weapons.

“If this war continues, it means that sanctions are not enough and weapons are not enough. And we will not stop talking about these topics,” said the Head of the President’s Office.

Andriy Yermak noted that Ukraine will never compromise on its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders.

He also noted that with the start of this war, it became clear that there was no reliable security system in Europe and around the world. And now one of the main issues is future clear security guarantees for Ukraine. According to him, our state would like to see as many countries as possible among the guarantors.

The issue of reparations was also raised during the conversation, which is extremely important given the terrible destruction caused by the Russian army in our country. According to him, as in the case of sanctions, professional experts will propose clear mechanisms that would allow confiscated Russian assets, funds on escrow accounts, etc. to be directed to the needs of affected citizens and the reconstruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure.