Friday

19th Jul 2019

Germany: EU to consider sanctions on Ukraine

  • Kiev: Ukraine’s health and interior ministries say 25 people, including nine policemen, were killed (Photo: Christiaan Triebert)

Germany has said Europe will consider imposing sanctions on Ukraine’s top cadre after 25 people were killed in a day and night of violence.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who had earlier opposed the move, said in a statement on Tuesday evening (18 February): “I stress: Those who are responsible in these hours for more bloodshed must know that the restraint Europe has shown regarding personal sanctions will surely be reconsidered.”

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

His Polish counterpart, Radek Sikorski, told Polish radio the EU will act “with a cool head” after analysing who did what. “The outside world always has very limited influence when the authorities of a country decide to use force. But this will definitely have consequences,” he noted.

Sweden’s Carl Bildt said the “EU will not hesitate on measures against interests of persons associated with repression and violence.”

The remarks point to a potential seizure of assets of people like Andriy Kluyev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s chief-of-staff, former PM Mykola Azarov, and Yanukovych’s son, Oleksandr, who own companies and real estate in Austria, the Netherlands, and the UK.

If the EU goes ahead, it will mark an official breakdown in relations, putting Yanukovych in the same basket as Belarus dictator Aleksander Lukashenko.

But relations already broke down on Tuesday, when Yanukovych declined to answer phone calls from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

He met with an opposition MP, ex-boxer Vitali Klitschko, but said only that people should “lay down [their] arms.” He also published a statement damning the opposition and justifying use of force as his “duty as a guarantor of the constitution.”

According to Ukraine’s health and interior ministries, 25 people, including nine policemen, were killed in the fighting, which began on Tuesday morning when protesters marched toward parliament in Kiev.

Security forces, armed with AK47 assault rifles and accompanied by armoured vehicles, attacked the main protest camp, the Maidan, at around 8pm local time. Fighting continued into the small hours of Wednesday. It abated by 5am, with thousands of people still at the Maidan at 9am.

Unrest also flared in western cities, including Lviv, Odessa, and Ternopil.

The US state department said US citizens in central Kiev should “prepare to remain indoors, possibly for several days.”

A White House spokesman noted: “We are appalled by the violence.” US vice-president Joe Biden, who did get Yanukovych on the phone, said he “made clear that the United States condemns violence by any side, but the government bears special responsibility.”

The emotional language was echoed by Steinmeier and by EU neighbourhood commissioner Stefan Fuele.

The German minister said he is “shocked.”

Fuele, who phoned Ukrainian acting PM Serhiy Arbuzov, said: “To learn that there have been deaths and hundreds of injured people makes me shake.” He noted that Arbuzov “assured” him police will not use live fire against crowds. “I will pray he is right,” the commissioner added.

With Europe taken by surprise by the sudden escalation, which came after the regime and opposition MPs had appeared to reach a compromise, some politicians called for an emergency EU summit.

Elisabeth Guigou, the chair of the French parliament's foreign affairs committee, said the French President and the German Chancellor should announce one when they meet in Paris on Wednesday.

Joseph Daul, a French MEP who chairs the centre-right EPP group in the European Parliament, said the EU's top official, Herman Van Rompuy, should "arrange an extraordinary meeting at the highest level at the earliest possible time."

Opinion

Time for EU to get serious on Ukraine

The EU’s language of “concern” has worn thin on the cold streets of Kiev: People need a promise of accession and practical help for genuine reform.

Pressure mounts for EU sanctions on Ukraine

A consensus is emerging among member states to impose targeted sanctions on Ukraine following violent clashes in Kiev, which left over two dozen people dead.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  2. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators
  3. Rudderless Europe: Will real Germany please stand up?
  4. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  5. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  6. EU proposes yearly rule of law 'reports'
  7. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  8. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us