Ukraine bans Austrian design firm working on Crimea theatre project

  • World
  • Sunday, 23 Jan 2022

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Bankova, in Kyiv, Ukraine, January 19, 2022. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine imposed sanctions on Saturday on an Austrian architecture and design company working on a project to build new theatre house in Sevastopol, a city in the Russian-controlled Crimean peninsula.

A decree issued by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the company, Coop Himmelb(L)au, is banned from doing business in Ukraine and cannot withdraw capital from the country for five years.

The decree also prohibits the company's six board members from entering Ukraine and participating in privatisations, and says their assets in the country will be frozen.

Kyiv considers Crimea an occupied territory and business there illegal after Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014.

The firm says on its website that Sevastopol is Russian territory.

Since the annexation Ukrainian authorities have imposed sanctions against thousands of entities and personalities that were involved in Russia's actions against Ukraine or continued to conduct business in Crimea despite Kyiv's restrictions.

A majority of Ukraine's Western allies has not recognised Crimea as part of Russia and supports Kyiv' sanctions.

The firm has not responded to a Reuters request for comment.

Russia has amassed tens of thousand of troops on Ukraine's borders and diplomatic efforts are ongoing to prevent the situation from escalating into war. Russia denies it is planning to invade Ukraine.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; editing by Clelia Oziel)

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