Ukraine regards Russian nationalization of 'Massandra' as war crime - Prosecutor of Crimea
The appropriation and sale of property of the Massandra Production and Agricultural Association in the occupied Crimea is regarded by the Ukrainian side as a war crime, head of the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol Ihor Ponochovny said in an interview published on Monday to Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper.
Answering the question why the appropriation and sale of the Massandra association qualifies as a war crime, he said: "Because, according to the IV Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, the occupying state is prohibited from appropriating both public and private property in the occupied territory. The occupying state has the right to use public property only for military purposes."
"After occupation of the peninsula by Russia, Massandra's property was 'nationalized', actually expropriated, transferred to federal ownership - to the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, then returned to 'the ownership of the Republic of Crimea', respectively, there was no military need for such appropriation and transfer of property. The auction of Massandra's assets and its purchase by a Russian company confirm the fact that the occupation administration, in addition to illegally taking possession of this property, also illegally disposes of it," the prosecutor said.
According to him, the Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol is investigating several episodes related to the property of "Massandra". "In addition to appropriation, this is also the sale of land under vineyards in Gurzuf, and proceedings against the 'director' of 'Massandra' Yanina Pavlenko, who unauthorizedly opened a 240-year-old bottle of Jerez de la Frontera for Vladimir Putin and Silvio Berlusconi. Now the case 'Massandra' will also be replenished with a buying company," Ponochovny said.