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SIMFEROPOL, March 15, 18:31 /ITAR-TASS/. The authorities of Crimea (autonomy seeking independence from Ukraine) hope that Ukrainian banks will not block Crimean residents’ accounts. Otherwise, the autonomy’s government will have to sell Ukrainian state property to make up for these losses, Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said on Saturday, March 15.
He stressed that the Crimean authorities “do not touch by any means” Ukrainian banks’ branches on the peninsula. However, “our main task is to return deposits to people… and if Ukrainian banks do so, that will be one kind of situation. If they don’t, then we will sell Ukraine’s property to compensate people [for their losses],” he said.
The prime minister reiterated that private property and banks would not be nationalised in Crimea. “We will only make the decision on health resorts, real estate and other property owned by the Ukrainian state. This issue will be addressed by a working group after the referendum [on Crimea’s status to be held on March 16,” Aksyonov said.
Much will depend on “how the state of Ukraine acts,” he said. If the Ukrainian authorities cut off electricity or take other steps against Crimea, its authorities will regard this as an act of sabotage, Aksyonov said. “Future decisions on Ukraine’s real estate [on the peninsula] will depend on that,” he said.
The Crimean authorities plan to nationalise the oil and gas company Chernomorneftegaz, the railroad and Ukraine’s health resorts on the peninsula.
“We are talking about nationalisation of Chernomorneftegaz and all of its assets, including drilling rigs that are working at sea off Crimea. This company will be proclaimed a republican company,” First Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea Rustam Temirgaliyev said on March 12.
The Crimean authorities will also nationalise the railroad on the peninsula and several health resorts that belong to Ukrainian ministries and agencies.
“The property of private companies and individuals will remain in their ownership. Our only request to them is to reregister their ownership rights in accordance with Russian legislation,” Temirgaliyev said.
Chernomorneftegaz increased gas production in 2013 by 40.6 percent to 1.67 bcm and plans to produce 3 bcm of gas by 2015.
The company also produces and explores for hydrocarbons in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and develops two gas condensate, seven gas and one oil deposits on the peninsula. It has 17 deposits on its books. It also owns the gas transportation system and an underground gas storage facility.
Italian ENI and French EdF are Chernomorneftegaz’ partners under a production sharing agreement for four offshore blocks in Crimea.
The Crimean authorities are also planning to nationalise the Ukrainian fleet on the peninsula along with several state-owned mineral extraction facilities, Prime Minister Aksyonov said.
“The Ukrainian fleet in Sevastopol will be nationalised in full. We are not going to let their ships out. We have also blocked the exit for Chernomorneftegaz [oil and gas producing company],” he said.
This is not the complete list of assets to be nationalised, he said. “We will also make decisions on solar power plants. They will be put on the books of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” Aksyonov said.
He stressed, however, that nationalisation would not affect private property.