On 17 May 2017, the Presidential Decree, blocking access to various websites and imposing a range of sanctions on Russian companies and individuals was published (the “Decree”). It came into force on the next day.

The Decree enacts a decision of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC) of 28 April 2017 expanding sanctions, ranging from one to three years, to more than 450 Russian companies and 1,200 individuals in total.

The Decree is expected to result in blocking access in Ukraine to numerous Russian websites. Among the newly-sanctioned entities are the Russian social networks VK and Odnoklassniki, the email service Mail.ru and the search engine company Yandex (including all its services and applications), all four of which are among the most popular websites in Ukraine.

Ukrainian service providers have been ordered to block access to the said websites, and many of providers have already effectively blocked such access.

Other websites and services blocked under the Decree include those of the cyber security firms Kaspersky Lab and DrWeb.

Moreover, the Decree also imposes asset freezes and broadcast bans on several major Russian television channels and banks, as well as on the companies related to the popular business software developer 1C (accounting services software). Although private companies are not explicitly prohibited to use 1C software (the most popular among SMEs), its users may encounter difficulties in acquiring 1C updates and new modules of the software in the future. The reasoning behind the ban is that 1C software (developed by a Russian company) is believed to be used as a spyware.

Although it is not currently clear how the above bans will be enforced in practice, the NSDC commented that it has ordered the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Bank of Ukraine to develop a mechanism to block access to them. The latter are expected to issue specific guidance on enforcement of the said sanctions within the nearest days.

Legislation: Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 133/2017 “On the Decision of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Regarding Implementation of Personal Special Economic Measures (Sanctions)” dated 15 May 2017