Czechia freezes Russian state-owned property on its territory

Jan Lipavský

The Czech government has moved to freeze Russian state-owned property on Czech territory by placing the company that manages these assets on its national sanctions list. The foreign minister said Prague would strive to get this measure approved across the EU.

Dimitro Kuleba and Jan Lipavský | Photo: Czech Foreign Ministry

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský on Wednesday announced the government’s decision to place another legal entity on the country’s national sanctions list - a Russian company, which is controlled by the Russian presidential administration and is in charge of managing Russian assets abroad. The move should guarantee that income generated by the company in this country will not be used to finance the war in Ukraine, Mr. Lipavský said.

“This company controls and operates a vast amount of Russian state-owned property in the country, predominantly real estate in Prague and Karlovy Vary, which generates significant financial income. As of this moment the company’s assets are frozen and its commercial activities are illegal, as is any attempt to evade the sanctions.”

Photo: Martin Vaniš,  Radio Prague International

The foreign minister emphasized that buildings used by the Russian Embassy for diplomatic purposes are excluded from the sanctions, since they are protected by diplomatic immunity. This relates to four buildings, including the main embassy building in Prague and the ambassador’s residence.

Within the measures ordered, the company’s bank accounts have been frozen and property in Russian state ownership will be blocked in the land registry so that it cannot be sold to a third party.  Private persons and legal entities who are housed in these facilities will continue paying rent to a special account from which money may be withdrawn for repairs so that the buildings can be maintained. Payments in cash will be prohibited.

The Financial Analytical Office is responsible for enforcing the sanctions and will contact the respective individuals on how to proceed, Lipavský said.

The Czech national sanctions list goes beyond the EU sanctions list and Minister Lipavský said that Prague would strive to get the company on the EU sanctions list as well. He said that if that could be achieved he would consider it a great success.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday applauded the Czech government’s decision praising Prague for taking the lead and calling on other European states to follow suit.

Kuleba wrote on the X platform that “Russian money should be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine rather than for the murder of civilians and destruction of the country.”

Relations between the Czech Republic and Russia worsened dramatically even before the invasion of Ukraine. The revelation in April 2021 that Russian intelligence officers were behind a series of explosions at the Vrbětice ammunition site in 2014, resulted in Prague expelling 18 Russian diplomats and Moscow subsequently sending 20 Czech diplomats home in a tit-for-tat move.

Vrbětice | Photo: Roman Verner,  Czech Radio

That same year, Russia placed the Czech Republic on its list of "enemy countries".

The Czech ambassador to Moscow, Vítězslav Pivoňka, has been in Prague for some time and although word is out that the Czech government is considering sending a new ambassador to Russia, there has been no move in this direction for the time being.

Author: Daniela Lazarová | Source: Český rozhlas
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