European leaders call for sanctions against Ukraine | News | DW | 19.02.2014
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European leaders call for sanctions against Ukraine

European leaders are calling for sanctions to be imposed against Ukraine for the violence that has gripped Kyiv for months. Twenty-five people were killed in the most recent wave of violence.

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Sanctions against Ukraine?

On Wednesday, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk added his voice to the chorus of EU leaders calling for sanctions to be imposed on the government of Ukraine after violence Tuesday cost 25 people their lives.

"I will today hold talks with the leaders of the biggest EU countries and institutions, and persuade them to impose sanctions - personal and financial," Tusk said during a special session of parliament. "I hope that such a stance from Poland will help the EU as a whole in taking fast decisions."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued a similar call on Tuesday night.

Referring to the violence that set in in Kyiv on Tuesday, Steinmeier said in a statement that "anyone responsible for taking decisions at this time which lead to further bloodshed, should be aware that Europe's self-imposed policy, so far, of not imposing sanctions on individuals will certainly be reconsidered."

High-level meeting

Later on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to meet with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, along with members of their respective Cabinets. Ahead of that meeting came further references to sanctions.

In an interview with the radio station France Inter on Wednesday, German Ambassador Susanne Wasum-Rainer said that it was likely necessary to "reflect together on the need now for sanctions."

She said "everything is possible" in terms of sanctions, but "we must not punish the population. We must see what we can do to exert more pressure on the Ukrainian government."

Tensions high in Kyiv

Tuesday's clashes in Kyiv were the most intense yet between demonstrators and police. In the end 16 demonstrators and nine police officers were killed.

At the end of Tuesday, Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko met with President Viktor Yanukovych. However, Klitschko said that he had quit talks after Yanukovych made an unconditional demand that the central square in Kyiv be cleared.

It remained unclear on Wednesday morning whether the government was still seeking an agreement with other factions of the opposition. Later on Wednesday morning, Yanukovych said he would talk "differently" to opposition leaders if they distanced themselves from the more radical elements of the protest.

Meanwhile, Kyiv's Independence Squre - also known as Maidan - remained full of protesters on Wednesday. Tires, tents and other objects have been set on fire, and some fires continue to burn.

mz/mkg (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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