Why did Siemens tur­bines land up in Crimea?

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL -

SIEMENS is re­think­ing some of its busi­ness con­nec­tions in Rus­sia af­ter two of its gas tur­bines turned up in Crimea, a re­gion sub­ject to EU sanc­tions on en­ergy tech­nol­ogy, a com­pany source fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said yes­ter­day.

The Ger­man in­dus­trial group sup­plied the tur­bines for a project in Rus­sia, but said on Mon­day that at least two of them had been moved to Crimea with­out its knowl­edge and against its will, con­firm­ing an ex­clu­sive Reuters re­port.

Rus­sia an­nexed the Black Sea penin­sula from Ukraine in 2014 in what the EU con­sid­ers a breach of in­ter­na­tional law.

“We have to think what this means for our re­la­tions with Rus­sia,” the com­pany source said, ask­ing not to be named be­cause of the del­i­cacy of the mat­ter.

“We can’t sim­ply go back to busi­ness as usual.”

“One has to keep a cool head, but act re­spon­si­bly,” the per­son said yes­ter­day. “There must be a cer­tain ef­fect on par­tic­u­lar con­nec­tions.”

The source de­clined to say whether this could af­fect Siemens’ joint ven­ture with Rus­sian Power Ma­chines, Siemens Gas Tur­bine Tech­nolo­gies, which built the tur­bines that have ended up in Crimea.

A spokesper­son for Siemens de­clined to com­ment.

Ger­many’s am­bas­sador said that Rus­sia will have se­ri­ously hurt its prospects for investment if it is con­firmed that the Siemens-made tur­bines have been de­liv­ered to Crimea, In­ter­fax news agency re­ported.

Siemens said on Mon­day that it would press crim­i­nal charges over the mov­ing of its tur­bines from Rus­sia to Crimea, and would seek to have them re­turned to Ta­man, their orig­i­nal des­ti­na­tion.

“Siemens in­sists cat­e­gor­i­cally on full com­pli­ance with all ex­port con­trol re­stric­tions for it­self and also at its partners and cus­tomers.

“In ad­di­tion, Siemens is eval­u­at­ing what ad­di­tional ac­tions are pos­si­ble,” it said.

Siemens made about €1.2 bil­lion (R18.33bn) in sales in Rus­sia last year, roughly 2 per­cent of its to­tal rev­enue.

It is ac­tive pri­mar­ily in en­ergy and trans­porta­tion and has said it in­di­rectly em­ploys 48 000 peo­ple in the coun­try.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Joe Kaeser met Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin sev­eral times in his first year af­ter tak­ing the helm of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in 2013, and at­tracted wide crit­i­cism for a visit just af­ter Rus­sia’s 2014 an­nex­a­tion of Crimea.

At the time, he reaf­firmed his com­mit­ment to Rus­sia, where Siemens has been present for some 170 years and has in­vested about €1bn in the past decade, say­ing the re­la­tion­ship would not be side­tracked by “short-term tur­bu­lence”.

PHOTO: AP

Siemens said on Mon­day that it would press crim­i­nal charges over the mov­ing of its tur­bines from Rus­sia to Crimea, and would seek to have them re­turned to Ta­man, their orig­i­nal des­ti­na­tion.

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