Ukraine Bans Russian Rouble Note Picturing Crimea

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine’s national bank has banned financial institutions from handling new Russian banknotes that feature landmarks from annexed Crimea.

Russia’s new 200-rouble note features a war memorial in Crimea, which it has annexed.

The 200-rouble ($3.50) note should not be exchanged or handled, said the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU).

The note is illustrated with two scenes from the Crimean port of Sevastopol, a naval memorial and the nearby ruins of the ancient city of Chersonesus.

The new rouble notes were presented last week, three years after President Putin announced that Russia was seizing the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine, enraging Kiev and much of the world.

Putin called Sevastopol a “legendary city” in his annexation speech, in reference to battles fought there during the Crimean War in the 19th century and the Second World War.

He also cited the importance of Chersonesus to Russians because Vladimir the Great was baptised there.

Ukrainian officials condemned the use of the images on the money.

The NBU said it was forbidding the use of Russian notes using images of “maps, symbols, buildings, monuments, archaeological or historical artefacts and landscapes” located on Ukrainian land occupied by Russia.

The ban comes into effect tomorrow.

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in conflict since the Crimea annexation and the armed hostilities that broke out in eastern Ukraine the same year.

The fighting pitches Ukrainian government forces against pro-Moscow rebels who are supported by Russian volunteer militia and regular army units that make forays across the border.

The separatists remain in control of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and sporadic fighting continues despite peace deals signed in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in 2014 and 2015.

More than 11,000 people have died. In Russia critics have derided the new bright green 200 rouble and blue 2,000-rouble ($35) banknotes for looking too much like euros, specifically the 100 and 20 euro notes.

Bloggers also noted that Sakhalin Island in Russia’s far east looked as if it was connected to the mainland on the 2,000-rouble note, making it appear to be a peninsula.

Source: The Times & Sunday Times