Ukrainian lawmakers on US visit accuse Russians of sanctions dodge using Georgia

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Russian people and companies are using entities in Georgia to bypass Western sanctions, a group of Ukrainian lawmakers said on Wednesday (June 15), urging the United States to take action, but they did not provide further details or specific examples.

The Georgian embassy in Washington said the accusations were “completely false”.

Lawmaker David Arakhamia, Ukraine’s chief negotiator with Russia, said a Ukrainian delegation visiting Washington was expected to have meetings at the US Congress, State Department and the Treasury over the issue and other topics.

“They (Russians) use heavily right now… Georgian banks, Georgian financial system, Georgian companies and so on,” Mr Arakhamia told reporters at a German Marshall Fund event.

“If you are a sanctioned Russian person, you go to the Internet, you open up a Georgian company, open up remotely the bank account and start processing,” he said.

The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Western countries, led by the United States, have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia over its Feb 24 invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The Georgian embassy said in a statement that Georgia is in full compliance with restrictions imposed on Russia.

“The Georgian government and its financial institutions continue to be in close coordination with US and other strategic partners to ensure there are no illegal activities of any sanctioned country, company, or individual in the territory of Georgia,” it said.

Georgia had asked Ukrainian officials to provide evidence for their accusations but had not received any, the statement said.

Ukraine lawmaker Mr Arakhamia said sanctions alone were not enough and repeated an appeal for the United States to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Moscow denies targeting civilians and calls its invasion a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of what it calls anti-Russian nationalists. Ukraine and Western countries say it is an unprovoked war of aggression.


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