EU agrees to fast-track sanctions against Ukraine
PR dla Zagranicy
The EU will introduce sanctions against Ukrainian authorities, a meeting of EU foreign ministers has decided, as Thursday's death toll in Kiev reportedly reached 60.
Protesters build a barricade after their clashes with police in Kiev, Ukraine, 20 February 2014. Photo: PAP/Sergey Dolzhenko
Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino was the first to break the news on Thursday evening, after crisis talks in Brussels.
“The decision is to proceed very rapidly, in the next hours, to a visa ban and asset freeze on those who have committed the violence,” she told reporters on leaving the meeting.
The talks took place amid the worst day of violence in Kiev since protests began in November after President Viktor Yanukovych pulled out of signing an association agreement with the EU.
By 7.30 pm local time in Kiev, opposition activists had claimed that at least 60 protesters died on Thursday, with live ammunition exchanged on Independence Square.
Likewise, three policeman are reported to have died, and about 30 were injured.
Poland's foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, together with his counterparts from France and Germany, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has been engaged in a series of talks in Kiev throughout Thursday.
The talks opened with opposition leaders, and then with President Yanukovych, and in the evening another round was held with opposition leaders. Marcin Wojciechowski, a spokesman for Poland's foreign ministry, has revealed that the three EU ministers will stay on in Kiev until Friday, as the discussions continue.
Meanwhile, Sikorski noted on his Twitter account between meetings that at the presidential palace, the mood of officials was “panicky”.
The concept of another compromise between the opposition and the government is reportedly being put to opposition leaders during the second round of talks. (nh)