• EU to consider urgent sanctions against Ukraine

    Europe’s leaders are to consider urgent sanctions against Ukraine after the worst violence in months of unrest claimed at least 25 lives, BBC reports.
    Violence that began on Tuesday continued through the night as police tried to uproot the protest stronghold in the capital Kiev.
    President Viktor Yanukovych blamed opposition leaders and Russia spoke of an attempted coup.
    But the EU said it expected measures to target those behind the “repression”.
    European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso spoke of the responsibility of “the political leadership” while several EU countries said they had no doubts that the Ukrainian authorities were to blame.
    With an emergency meeting due to take place on Thursday, EU leaders have been expressing concern:
    At a joint news conference, French President Francois Hollande said those responsible for the violence “will be sanctioned” while German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed the threat, saying they were “side by side with the men and women who suffer.”
    Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said: “I will today hold talks with the leaders of the biggest EU countries and European institutions, and persuade them to impose sanctions – personal and financial.”
    Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said President Yanukovych had “blood on his hands”
    Earlier on Wednesday, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, said that the European Union would finally consider sanctions against those deemed responsible. The 28-nation group will meet on February 20 to discuss the Ukrainian crisis.
    In the meantime, President Viktor Yanukovych announces February 20 a day of mourning for those who died in the clashes.

  •