Saturday, 23 April 2022

Croatia Begins to Block Russian Assets, Newspaper Says

ZAGREB, 23 April 2022 - Croatia has begun to block the assets of Russian nationals who are under sanctions, the Večernji List said on Saturday, adding that Russian-owned holiday homes, forests and companies have been seized.

Based on the EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Croatia has blocked the property of the wife and sister of Alisher Usmanov, one of the richest Russians, on the southern peninsula of Pelješac, the newspaper said, citing documents from public registers.

It appears that in locating Russian-owned properties in Croatia the Croatian authorities have largely relied on the findings of the Oštro website, the only Croatian website to be participating in the international journalistic project the Russian Asset Tracker, which tracks down the assets of Russians close to President Vladimir Putin.

Oštro has found that Usmanov's wife Irina Viner-Usmanova and his sister Guljbahor Ismailova are behind the off-shore and Croatian companies registered as the owners of the Pelješac properties concerned.

Among the properties seized is a villa in Mali Lošinj, on the northern Adriatic island of Lošinj, which is owned by a company in which Maja Tokareva is a member of the management board. She is a daughter of Nikolay Tokarev, president of the Transneft oil pipeline company, which is also under EU sanctions.

For now there are no indications in the court register of companies and land books that Croatia intends to block a villa in Lozica, an attractive section of Dubrovnik, owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, or a villa on Šipan island, off Dubrovnik, Večernji List said.

An anonymous source told Večernji List in early March that Putin's friends had renovated Katino Villa and its large grounds on Šipan island for Dmitry Medvedev, now the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Prime Minister Says Croatia Will Consistently Implement Sanctions Against Russia

ZAGREB, 3 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday said that his cabinet would make sure that the sanctions against Russia are carried out consistently by Croatia.

Also, the war in Ukraine is going to disrupt supply chains in agriculture because Ukraine is one of the major exporters of cereals and oilseeds to the European Union.

"The government is analyzing all the consequences of this situation, and will take all necessary measures accordingly so as to protect Croatian citizens and businesses and reduce the repercussions for everyday life," said the PM.

Next week, Plenković will attend an informal meeting of the European Council, which will focus on the aggression against Ukraine and on reinforcing various aspects of European sovereignty.

He recalled that Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) took over Sberbank Croatia and the government managed to ensure this transaction in a record short time.

"We have helped that sound bank to survive now as part of HPB and also to reassure its deposit holders and clients by this rapid response."

Furthermore, this transaction has increased HPB's share in the Croatian banking market to nearly 8%, and Plenković added that none of Sberbank subsidiaries in Europe had been liquidated.

 For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Plenković: Aggression on Ukraine Resembles of What Happened to Croatia in 1991

ZAGREB, 25 Feb 2022 - Russia's brutal aggression against Ukraine represents the violation of all principles of international law and bears a resemblance of the aggression on Croatia in 1991, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Brussels on Friday.

"Aggression of this type against Ukraine represents a denial of all values on which the international order is based, and is violation of all the principles of international law," Plenković said.

 He described Russia's aggression on Ukraine as brutal.

Commenting on the Ukrainian President's appeal, Plenković said that the situation resembled what happened to Croatia in 1991.

It is very similar, however, this invasion is of a much larger scale, said the Croatian PM.

This is a clash between democratic systems and the systems that do not change the authorities very often, he said.

Sanctions imposed on Russia without impact on Croatia

The leaders of the European Union on Thursday reached agreement on new sanctions on the Russian financial, energy and transport sectors.

Russian banks Sberbank and VTB  hold an interest in the Croatian Fortenova retail and food group, and Plenković said that he did not believe that this kind of the sanctions against the Russian banking system would produce a large impact on the ownership of Fortenova.

In general, Plenković does not think that Croatia's economy would suffer from big consequences of the sanctions on Russia.

There are discussions on cutting Russia off from the SWIFT global interbank payments system as part of their sanctions against Moscow for invading Ukraine.

We are ready for the sanctions concerning SWIFT, just as most of the EU members are ready, Plenković said in Brussels.

However, media outlets speculate that Germany, Italy, Cyprus and Hungary oppose such sanction.

Concerning the restriction on the delivery of Russian gas supplies, Plenković said efforts were being made to procure gas supplies from Norway, Azerbaijan and Libya and to procure liquefied gas.

In the long run, a new network of gas supplies provision is being created, he said.