On May 12, 2023, due to the Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 279/2023 came into force the Decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine dated May 12, 2023 “On the application and introduction of changes to personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)” which contains among those listed the name of Alona Lebedieva, the beneficial owner of the group of companies, a person with a sincere patriotic position, who for many years has been diligently carrying out work to strengthen the production potential of Ukraine and protect the domestic railway transport sector from the influence of the aggressor country.
We believe there are no objective grounds for including Alona Pavlivna Lebedieva to the sanction lists.
Starting from 2014 and until the start of a full-scale invasion in 2022, when Ukrainian business in general continued to cultivate relations and increase product exports to the aggressor-country, the Aurum Group companies continuously reduced product supplies to russia and looked for new, European sales markets, despite long ago established export relations with the aggressor-country due to the proximity of the borders.
In 2018-2020, under the leadership of Alona Lebedieva and in cooperation with the largest manufacturers of freight wagons of Ukraine, all measures were taken to launch comprehensive activity to counter the import of decommissioned freight wagons from the russian federation to Ukraine. This process was concluded in favor of Ukrainian entrepreneurs with the introduction of an embargo on the import of russian wagons from March 1, 2020.
In 2017-2023, on the initiative of Ms. Lebedieva, a comprehensive information campaign was conducted aiming to limit the negative influence of the russian federation on the strategic sphere of railway transportation in Ukraine. This included a number of press conferences, meetings at the highest level, dozens of letters to state bodies, including the President and Prime Minister of Ukraine, the development of draft regulations – all of that was reported on by the mass media at the time and is available on the Internet.
From the first days of the full-scale invasion of the russian federation into Ukraine and up until today, despite the loss of a significant part of production capacities due to the occupation of the territories of Ukraine, the enterprises of the Aurum Group headed by Alona Lebedieva are active providing assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, internally displaced persons and the population affected by the war.
In particular, the enterprises of the Group manufactured anti-tank hedgehogs, the production of equipment for units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was set up, more than a thousand plate carriers for body armor, about 200 of which with armor plates, were produced and delivered to the front lines. In addition, the Group helped local authorities and communities with the necessary means of protection and livelihood – sirens, fire extinguishers, medicines, food and drinking water, camp stoves, checkpoint equipment, humanitarian and food aid to the population. The premises of the factories of the Aurum Group welcomed hundreds of refugees, and the bomb shelters there became a reliable refuge for Ukrainians!
Alona Lebedieva’s charitable foundation “Aurum” systematically provides help to units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on various stretches of the front line, to the border troops, and also provides humanitarian support to those who have suffered due to hostilities. The fund, thanks to the personal funds of Alona Lebedieva and with the support of passionate Ukrainians, has already donated 9 SUVs to our soldiers in the east of Ukraine. The volunteers of the Aurum Foundation have contributed to weaving thousands of square meters of camouflage nets, to delivering humanitarian aid to internally displaced persons, and to providing equipment and tools to military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Just in 2022, the Aurum Charitable Foundation allocated more than 6.5 million hryvnias to finance these projects.
Despite the fact that since the beginning of the war some of the enterprises actually stopped operating, and currently the profits at the enterprises do not cover costs, Aurum Group continues to pay salaries to all the employees in the territory under Ukraine’s control and to diligently pay taxes to the budget in full, supporting jobs and economy of the country.
Neither before the start of the war in 2014, nor, even more so, after the full-scale invasion in 2022, none of the group’s businesses were ever aimed at supporting the aggressor-country in any way.
We believe, implementing personal sanctions against Ms. Lebedieva is the continuation of absolutely groundless pressure from the certain security forces officials, which has been exerted on Ms. Lebedieva and the group for almost a year now. Thus, a year ago, a criminal case was initiated under Article 110-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine alleging that one of the Group’s enterprises, namely the Svesky Pumping Plant, in 2017-2018(!) supplied pump products of civil (!) destination to the territory of the russian federation (it should be noted that such deliveries took place in accordance with the requirements of the Ukrainian legislation in force at the time, in compliance with all customs formalities).
Throughout the whole year no proper objective investigation was conducted, but as part of the criminal case, the assets of the group’s enterprises, which have nothing to do with the mentioned pump deliveries, were seized, which greatly complicated the work of the business already affected by the war. And no sooner were the illegally imposed arrests lifted in a court of law, than the sanctions were imposed.
We believe that such pressure is caused by certain individuals in the security forces misunderstanding the state interests, and is connected with the fact that Alona Lebedieva is the daughter of the former Minister of Defense of Ukraine Pavlo Lebediev.
It is important to note that Alona Pavlivna, being the daughter of Pavlo Lebediev, the former Minister of Defense of Ukraine, since 2008 has been conducting independent entrepreneurial activities in the field of development of Ukrainian industrial, logistics, agricultural enterprises, which created new jobs and were always exclusively aimed at effective work for the sake of improving the welfare of individual regions and Ukraine as a whole, and her business is currently not connected with her father in any way.
The fact of initiating a criminal case against Alona Lebedieva and putting her on the sanction list speaks of one’s ploy to take over the business, taking advantage of the situation in the country and misleading its top management.
However, unjustified pressure on Ukrainian industry bears characteristics of sabotage against the economic capacity of the state, the rule of law in Ukraine, as well as harms the international image of Ukraine and endangers the existence of Ukrainian business, which feeds thousands of Ukrainian families in such difficult times for the country.
We call to put an end to the politically biased prosecution of the beneficial owner of the Aurum Group of companies, Alona Lebedieva, and to objectively analyze the situation in order to restore justice, as well as to take to the court all persons involved in illegal actions.