(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Israeli companies doing business in Crimea may be subject to sanctions, the Ukrainian Embassy in Tel Aviv threatened last week.
According to the Ukrainians, Israeli citizens have been traveling to the Black Sea peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, without permission from Kiev, and Israelis firms have been engaged in “business activity in cooperation with the illegal authorities of Crimea without a permit.”
Such activities, the embassy asserted in a statement, are a violation of both Ukrainian and international law, and should they continue, “relevant information will be transmitted to the competent authorities of Ukraine to further bring to justice perpetrators of violations of the current legislation.”
Companies that continue operating in Crimea without coordinating with Kiev may be subject to “special restrictive measures,” such as sanctions.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post
on Monday, embassy press secretary Olena Ivanchuk stated that last November-December Kiev became aware of a visit to Crimea by a group of Israeli companies in the fields of agriculture and agro-technologies as well as “cooperation between the illegal occupying authorities of Crimea and the Israeli company Telecom and Technology Transfer Ltd.”
While the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem declined to comment, representatives of Jewish bodies in both mainland Ukraine and Crimea issued strong and conflicting statements on the matter.
In an email to the Post, Eduard Dolinsky of the Kiev-based Ukrainian Jewish Committee stated that he fully agreed with the ultimatum, explaining that “we warned Israelis even at the very beginning of Crimea annexation that it would be a big mistake to visit or work with them without Ukrainian approval.
“I think that the Israeli government should issue a similar warning for Israeli citizens and companies,” he added.
In a joint statement Monday evening, several Jewish organizations in Crimea, including the Crimean Jewish Congress, panned Ukraine, stating that they were “surprised by the threats of the Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Israel to punish the Jews of Israel, for their communication and connection with the part of our people, the Jews of the Crimea.”
Ukraine must not “interfere in Russian-Israeli relations,” the Crimean Jewish groups contended, adding that the embassy’s statement was “aimed at undermining the legitimate right of Israel to carry out cooperation with their compatriots in Crimea [and] intimidate participants in legitimate economic activity.”
This is not the first time that the Crimean Jewish community has been at odds with Ukraine.
Last month the Crimean Jewish Congress issued a harsh statement lambasting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who had accused the Kremlin of stirring up anti-Semitism while addressing the Knesset during a state visit.