Seven companies are suspected of breaching EU sanctions against Russia, the Dutch prosecutor’s office said.
According to prosecutors, the companies contributed to building a 19-kilometre bridge connecting the annexed Crimea with Russia. The Dutch businesses reportedly provided equipment and machine parts for the construction.
“It is a serious crime which undermines the EU sanctions system,” the statement reads.
The top staff of one of the companies claim that they were not aware of their violating sanctions, Alhemein Dahblad reports. A representative of another firm states that he did not know that the equipment supplied was used to build the bridge.
The transactions took place between November 2015 and 2017, the prosecutor’s office believes. They fail to specify the names of the businesses against which the proceedings were initiated. If companies are found guilty, they may face a fine of up to €820,000; persons may be jailed for up to six years or heavily fined.
Most of UN member states did not recognise the 2014 referendum in Crimea. G7, NATO member states, the European Union, the Council of Europe regarded the Russian actions as aggression and violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
In April 2014, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada adopted a law declaring Crimea and the city of Sevastopol city the territory seized as a result of ‘the armed aggression of the Russian Federation’.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague recognised the annexation of the Crimean peninsula as a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and a Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory.
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