Speaking to the press today, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko angrily condemned an announcement out of the breakaway east to hold “fake illegal elections,” which he insisted threatened to start a new round of wars against their territory, and justified a dramatic widening of sanctions.
The new sanctions will hit over 400 people and 90 different companies. Many of the companies targeted are Russian, and seemingly targeted just for the sake of going after high profile Russian companies, though Ukraine’s collapsing economy and hostility toward Russia as a matter of course means that many of the companies targeted will not experience any real impact by the move.
Among the people targeted, however, include a large number of foreign reporters, including many from around Western Europe, who will subsequently be banned from the country for providing coverage which the government considers unfavorable. Though Russian reporters banned by this measure will likely ignore it since they’re going into the rebel-held east anyhow, the BBC and Germany’s Die Zeit will be losing their on the ground reporters from the move.
The election issue centers on the Minsk ceasefire plan to hold local elections in the east in concert with the rest of the country in late October. Poroshenko’s government announced that there would be no elections in the east despite this agreement, and when the rebels announced that they intend to hold the local elections anyhow, with or without Poroshenko’s permission, he’s declaring it a “violation” of the deal.