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28 April 2014

Ukraine adopted the law addressing the current status of the Crimea

On 27 April 2014, the law "On Guaranteeing Citizens' Rights and Freedoms and Legal Regime in the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine", No. 4473-1 dated 15 April 2014 (the “Law”) became effective. According to the Law, the Crimea remains a part of the Ukrainian territory, which has been temporarily occupied. The Law also sets forth certain rules to be taken into account by any businesses having interests in the peninsula.

Parliament did not restrict business activities in the Crimea

Following active lobbying efforts of the lawyers included in the drafting group and professional business community, the provisions restricting certain business activities in the Crimea and introducing criminal liability for failure to comply with them were struck out from the Law. Business activities in the Crimea will be governed by a standalone law that the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade was instructed to draft.

Transactions with Crimean real estate shall be carried out in accordance with Ukrainian law

The Law provides that the transfer of title to real estate in the Crimea shall be carried out pursuant to the laws of Ukraine. This provision entails, inter alia, that the relevant agreements would have to be certified by a Ukrainian notary and recorded in the Ukrainian state register. The procedure of registration will be established by the Ukrainian government in a separate regulation.

Transfer of title to real estate in the Crimea made without complying with the requirements of the Ukrainian law will not be recognized in Ukraine, as well as in any other jurisdictions that did not recognise the Crimea’s secession from Ukraine.

Decisions of the Crimean authorities will not have legal effect in the rest of the territory of Ukraine

Ukraine does not recognize operation of the Crimean authorities and their officials if they were established or elected other than in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation. The Law provides that any decisions and documents issued either by the Crimean authorities or their officials are null and void and do not have legal effect in the territory of Ukraine. 

Foreigners and stateless persons may enter and leave the Crimea only through the territory of Ukraine and subject to special permit

Foreign citizens and stateless persons will be subject to special regime for visiting the peninsula. To visit the Crimea, they will need to obtain a special permit from the State Migration Service of Ukraine. Moreover, they will need to enter and leave the Crimea only through the checkpoints organised in the mainland Ukraine.

Failure to comply with the special entry regime is deemed a criminal offence in Ukraine.

Court proceedings pending in the Crimea will be transferred to Kyiv

All disputes subject to the jurisdiction of courts existing in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol will be heard by the respective courts of the Kyiv region and the city of Kyiv. The Ukrainian courts retain jurisdiction over all legal matters that arise in the Crimea.

On any queries relating to the situation in the Crimea, please contact Sergey Pogrebnoy, Tatyana Slipachuk or Michael Kharenko, or e-mail us at CrimeanDesk@sk.ua.

If you would like to receive regular updates on the developments in the Crimea, you are invited to subscribe to Sayenko Kharenko’s special Crimea Alert at tskrypka@sk.ua.

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