German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the EU could not avoid imposing sanctions on individuals responsible for violence in Myanmar. He said the number of "murders" in the country has "reached an unbearable extent."
The European Union approved sanctions against individuals tied to the Myanmar coup on Monday, at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
The sanctions mark the most significant EU response so far to the coup. At least 250 people have been killed so far in violent crackdowns on the ongoing anti-junta protests.
Among those sanctioned was junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, who has been slapped with an assets freeze and visa ban blacklist.
"Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing has been directly involved in and responsible for decision making concerning state functions and is therefore responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law," the bloc's official journal said. A total of 11 individuals involved in Myanmar's military coup and the repression of demonstrators were targeted.
Germany calls for 'peaceful solution'
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that the EU intended to only target individuals who were responsible for violence in Myanmar.
"The number of murders has reached an unbearable extent, which is why we will not be able to avoid imposing sanctions," Maas told reporters as he arrived in Brussels.
"We don't intend to punish the people of Myanmar but those who blatantly violate human rights," he said.
"We are still pushing to stay in dialogue for a peaceful solution, " he added.
UN calls for 'firm' measures
UN rapporteur Tom Andrews had urged the international community to cut the coup leaders' access to resources and called for sanctions in response to their "ruthless" attacks on people.
"The world must respond by cutting their access to money and weapons," he tweeted.