Wednesday

12th May 2021

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.

News in Brief

  1. Israeli rockets kill 20 people in Gaza retaliation
  2. No more EU expulsions likely over Russia bomb attacks
  3. EU ready to ignore Hungary veto on Hong Kong
  4. Borrell admits EU neglect of Western Balkans
  5. Macron accused of 'cowardice and deceit' in military letter
  6. EU citizens in UK applying for settled status face legal limbo
  7. Netherlands gives €2bn to offshore carbon storage project
  8. Germany will allow Johnson & Johnson vaccine for all ages

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Russia penetrated Merkel's 'inner circle', Khodorkovsky says
  2. First recovery euros could be paid out in July
  3. Commission wants help for Italy after weekend's migrant arrivals
  4. Mercosur trade deal will fuel 'poison pesticides' back into EU
  5. Can new Iran talks avoid mistakes of the original JCPOA?
  6. EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence
  7. Frontex 'mislabelling minors as adults' on Greek islands
  8. Has Albania really met the 15 tests to join the EU? No

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us