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Pavel Klimkin; Sigmar Gabriel
Kiev

Ukraine will go after German companies in Crimea minister warns

Ukraine will be going after German retailers Adidas and Volkswagen because they are operating in Crimea, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin warned on Wednesday.

Published: January 5, 2018, 7:15 am

    “Nowadays, there are companies that allow their retailers, for instance Adidas and Volkswagen, to view Crimea as part of Russia,” Klimkin told a joint news conference with visiting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

    “We will give them a hard time with the help of both political and legal means,” Klimkin warned.

    Ukraine’s Security Service was reported to be investigating German companies in Crimea in late December 2017 . The companies under investigation include DHL Express, Adidas and Puma.

    On 16 March 2014, some 82 percent of Crimea’s electorate took part in the referendum, voting in favor of reuniting with Russia.  They voted overwhelmingly for reunification – some 96.77 percent in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6 percent in the Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol.

    On March 18, President Vladimir Putin ratified the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia and Russia’s parliament, the Federal Assembly approved the treaty on March 21.

    But Ukraine has refused to recognise the referendum was legally binding. In July 2014, the US, followed by the European Union, imposed sanctions against Crimea and Russia and have repeatedly extended and expanded them.

    “You know that we have done a lot to ensure that Russian fraud, as in the case of the delivery of Siemens turbines to the territory of the occupied Crimea, never happen again … I believe that this has become a sad lesson for all Germans and not only German business, and now there are certainly companies, such as Volkswagen and Adidas, which allow their retailers, to work in the Crimea on the territory of Russia. We will certainly get them, not only politically, but also with legal methods,” said Klimkin.

    Klimkin admitted that in 2017 German companies had created 2 000 new jobs in Ukraine.

    “In 2017, according to our approximate calculations, German companies created at least 2 000 jobs in Ukraine,” Klimkin said on Wednesday.

    The Ukrainian foreign minister noted that the German automobile industry alone has created more than 30 000 jobs in Ukraine.

    Alexander Markus, chairman of the German-Ukrainian Chamber of Industry & Commerce, told the Kiev Post in September last year that a largely silent investment boom was under way in parts of Ukraine, led by German and other investors, and not completely reflected in official statistics.

    He said that decentralization of government is a big plus for economic development because it forces regional governments to compete with each other for private investment.

    “Decentralization is the best thing that can happen in Ukraine,” Markus said.

    Possibly the biggest German employer in Ukraine, with 8 000 people in two plants, is Kromberg & Schubert, which makes complex wire cable networks for Germany’s vaunted car manufacturing industry. Kromberg & Schubert have plants in Lutsk and Zhytomyr.

    But close behind is LEONI, another Germany automotive components manufacturer, which will open its second Ukrainian plant, in Kolomyia, adding to a workforce that includes 7 000 employees in its plant in Stryi.

    Two other German business giants in Ukraine are: Metro Cash & Carry, the Dusseldorf-based food and retail giant, which has invested an estimated $500 million; and Knauf, the Iphofen-based manufacturer of drywall and other building construction materials, which has invested an estimated $350 million.

    The US Javelin missile

    President Donald Trump meanwhile has approved the sale of commercial lethal weapons to Ukraine, a pivotal decision that will escalate the war in Ukraine. A $41.5 million deal for Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms Manufacturing to sell Model M107A1 sniper rifles, ammunition, and accessories to Ukraine was approved.

    The M107A1 is known as an anti-materiel rifle because it can penetrate light armour and buildings.

    Also, the sale of Javelin missiles to Ukraine was given the go-ahead in December, an audacious geopolitical move. The Javelin is one of the deadliest anti-tank missiles ever designed, aimed at Russia’s large and powerful tank fleet.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it a “dead-end technique, which would unleash bloodshed again,” Russian news site TASS reported.

     

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