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US accused of ‘political terror’ after sanctions imposed on Ukrainian opposition party

by Steve Sweeney
International editor

A PRO-RUSSIAN opposition party in Ukraine described US sanctions imposed on a number of its members an “act of political terror” today.

Four members of the Opposition Platform — For Life (OPFL) party were accused by Washington of allegedly engaging “in Russian government-directed influence activities to destabilise Ukraine” on Thursday.

The United States Department of the Treasury announced sanctions on the former deputy head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Vladimir Sivkovich, OPFL lawmakers Taras Kozak and Oleg Voloshin and former parliamentarian Vladimir Oleynik. 

It alleged that “the the four individuals have played various roles in Russia’s global influence campaign to destabilise sovereign countries in support of the Kremlin’s political objectives.”

But the OPFL, which was founded in December 2018, hit out at the latest aggressive act by Washington which is ratcheting up tensions in the region amid growing fears of conflict with Russia.

“The OPFL states that sanctions and biased criminal cases against the representatives of our party directed at obstructing the lawmaking activity are an act of international political terror conducted on the orders of the criminal Ukrainian government,” it said in a statement.

The party accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of launching attacks on the party instead of targeting oligarchs and corrupt officials.

“There are no doubts that the introduction of these sanctions is the result of close communication and personal agreements between Vlodymyr Zelensky and US officials, in particular US State Secretary Antony Blinken and US senators,” the party claimed.

It said that the sanctions were a “direct result of the criminal policy depriving Ukraine of sovereignty, handing it over to be externally governed. 

“Precisely because of our party’s fight for Ukraine’s sovereignty, its independence, the fight against external governing, the sanctions are being introduced against our party’s leadership.”

The party has promised to renegotiate a Ukrainian-EU deal and increase trade with the Commonwealth of Independent States, a bloc formed after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The agreement commits both parties to work towards a convergence with EU Common Security and Defence Policy and the policies of the European Defence Agency.

It will also open the door to free trade agreements between the EU and Ukraine dependent on Ukraine implementing judicial and financial reforms.

Rejection of the deal by then-president Viktor Yanukovich in 2014 led to a US-EU and fascist-backed coup which ousted the democratically elected government.

OPFL has also promised to overturn “decommunisation” which has seen the banning of the Communist Party of Ukraine along with the use of communist symbols.

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