Tuesday

24th Nov 2020

US imposes Ukraine sanctions, EU voices 'worry'

The US has imposed sanctions on Ukrainian officials deemed guilty of ordering violence against pro-EU protesters.

Its embassy in Kiev said on Wednesday (22 January): “In response to actions taken against protestors on the Maidan in November and December of last year, the US embassy has revoked the visas of several Ukrainians who were linked to the violence.”

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It added: “We are considering further action against those responsible for the current violence.”

Its decision comes amid reports that three demonstrators were killed in fighting with police on Wednesday morning.

The American visa ban list is confidential under US law.

But EUobserver understands it includes Ukrainian interior minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko and up to 19 others.

It is likely to include Andriy Kluyev, President Viktor Yanukovych’s national security chief, said to have ordered riot police to beat up demonstrators last November.

EU foreign service chief Catherine Ashton also said in a statement on Wednesday: "I strongly condemn the violent escalation of events in Kiev overnight leading to casualties. The reported deaths of several protesters is a source of extreme worry.”

She added: “I am deeply concerned about attacks on journalists and about reports of missing persons.”

An EU source said the Union’s position - that it is still willing to sign an association pact with Yanukovych - remains unchanged, with its top negotiator, commissioner Stefan Fuele due in Kiev on Friday.

Meanwhile, Ashton-type comments by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on twitter earlier on Wednesday met with derision.

“Then start the sanctions!! Stop just ‘being concerned’! There are people [sic] got killed!!’,” one respondent, who identified himself as Bogdan Dyakovych, said.

An EU diplomatic source told EUobserver the US state department is also putting pressure on the EU to take a firmer line.

“The Americans are calling us everyday to ask: ‘What is the EU planning to do?’,” the contact said.

A US source told this website the US ban is largely symbolic because Ukrainian officials and oligarchs like to visit and deposit their money in Europe rather than in the United States.

For his part, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt earlier this week told press: “I think we should look towards various instruments targeted against corrupt money [in Ukraine].”

The Lithuanian foreign minister has also come out in support of punitive measures.

But Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier has indicated EU sanctions are unlikely for the time being.

Analysis

There is 'no Russia-Turkey alliance'

Talk of a grand Turkey-Russia realignment is premature, Nato and Russia experts say - despite Putin and Erdoğan's friendly ties.

EU parliament calls for feminist foreign policy

The European Parliament has called for gender-equal foreign and security policy. Sweden already has one. But will other EU institutions or member states follow their lead?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. There is 'no Russia-Turkey alliance'
  2. EU air quality improves, but pollution levels still high
  3. 'Golden Passports': Malta takes 67 days to respond to EU
  4. Covid-19: Romania's rural kids hit hardest by pandemic
  5. 'We call on the EU to appoint a Horn of Africa envoy'
  6. Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2020
  7. EU stands by anti-Covid drug, despite WHO doubts
  8. Russia is 'pre-eminent naval power' in Mediterranean

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us