Austrian politician wants to punish Ukrainian oligarchs

Wealthy tycoons fund nationalist activists, lawmaker Martin Graf claims

An Austrian MP has called on the EU to impose sanctions on Ukrainian oligarchs, who he says are the real culprits in the military conflict between Kyiv and Moscow. Martin Graf called the bloc’s current policy towards Ukraine deeply flawed.

“I demand that the EU authorities impose sanctions on the Ukrainian oligarchs: seize their yachts, belongings and other assets and use these funds to help Ukrainian refugees and compensate the losses suffered by EU citizens due to Sanctions. [on Russia]”, he wrote in a lengthy Facebook post on Monday, which featured excerpts from a recent interview.

Graf, who represents the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), claimed that the oligarchs had “sucked Ukraine dry” and “constantly funded” regime changes in Kyiv regardless of the consequences of political unrest on the country’s economy and society.

He said that these same people, who had “bought” the right to do what they want, now fund Ukrainian nationalists and illegal armed groups. The deputy added that the oligarchs had “loss of touch with reality” and “drove Ukraine into war”.

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Graf said he supports EU sanctions against Russian oligarchs, but wondered why Brussels hasn’t taken a similar step against Ukrainian tycoons, especially since they are Ukrainians and Europeans who are paying the price for what these people have done.

“These people should be punished for everything they have done to Ukraine and to the whole world now,” Graf said. The MP also accused the EU of supposedly condoning the actions of the Ukrainian oligarchs by allowing them to “enjoying their life in Europe.” 

“If there are no sanctions against the Ukrainian oligarchs, it would be de facto [serve] as evidence of corruption in the highest circles of the EU”, said the Austrian MP.

Graf was the third speaker of the National Council – the lower house of the Austrian parliament – between 2008 and 2013. However, he is no stranger to controversy and has been accused of having links with far-right extremists and even saw his parliamentary immunity lifted. in 2009 following allegations of embezzlement. He was never charged, however, and an investigation was dropped.

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His FPO party also came under scrutiny for its alleged ties to Russia in 2019. It signed a cooperation agreement with United Russia – a major Russian party, seen as traditionally sympathetic to President Vladimir’s policies. Cheese fries.

Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, citing kyiv’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, intended to give the Donetsk and Luhansk regions special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that kyiv’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to save time and “to create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbas republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked.


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