Barroso threatens Ukraine rulers with sanctions

  

Concerned about the alarming, violent crackdown on the pro-European protests in Kyiv, Commission President José Manuel Barroso said today (22 January) said the EU would consider possible “actions," which diplomats explained was an euphemism for sanctions.

Barroso warns Ukraine of 'possible actions'

As development in Kyiv increasingly look like the beginning of a civil war, Barroso issued a stern warning to Ukraine’s authorities, departing from earlier statements which used to say that the EU door for Ukraine to sign an Association Agreement remained open.

At least two people have died since last night from gunshot wounds, according to a statement by Ukraine's general prosecutor.

Fifty people were detained overnight and 29 of them were officially charged with taking part in mass unrest, police said. A total of 167 police have been injured. There was no immediate number of injured civilians.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov called the protestors 'terrorists' and accused opposition leaders of inciting 'criminal action' by calling for anti-government protests.

Barroso appeared in front of the Brussels press, saying that he was “shocked” to hear the latest news from Ukraine about death of protestors.

“We deplore in the strongest possible terms the use of force and violence and call on all sides to refrain from it and start taking steps to help deescalate the situation,” he said.

Barroso added that the overall environment in Ukraine had been worsening for some time and stressed the responsibility of the Ukrainian authorities to stop the escalation of the crisis and to engage in genuine dialogue with the opposition and civil society, with the aim of overcoming it.

He also said that the EU was following with great concern the recent restriction on fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

Indeed, on 16 January supporters of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich hastily pushed new law through parliament in an attempt to curb anti-government protests (see background). The controversial new laws, branded as "dictatorship" laws by the pro-EU opposition came into effect today.

“We are generally concerned about these developments in Ukraine and will continue to follow them closely, as well as assessing possible actions by the EU and consequences for our relations with that country.”

Diplomats told EurActiv that although Barroso did not use the term 'sanctions', the EU and the United States had agreed that immediate sanctions should be introduced against Yanukovich and leading oligarchs, in the case of a crackdown on the protests on Maidan square [more].

Washington imposed today sanctions against a number of Ukrainian citizens.

"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," the US embassy in Ukraine said in a statement posted on its website.

However, the embassy said that "because visa records are confidential under U.S. law, we cannot comment on individual cases".

Any EU sanctions on Ukraine may take a while to come as the bloc's decision-making process for such actions takes some time.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Russia told European governments yesterday to stop meddling in Ukraine's political affairs, warning that events could be spinning out of control.

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Comments

an european's picture

It seems more that 7 Ukrainians were tabassed to death by some or more policemens in Junakovic's dictate ...
Putin will be glad .. (Not in that sense please)

Morris Kibzey's picture

Ukrainians have been fighting for our freedom of our cukture, language, our country within a democratic constitution free of Russiann domination and free to associate with other european countries in trade and commerce . . Ukrane will prosper with an association with the E U . . . I hope the western world will intervene in any way they can to free us from the Russian (Putin) yoke
Slava Ukraini

an european's picture

@ Morris Kizbey

I agree with you that with trade and commerce!
But at the moment this path unfortunately hasn't realized directly ...standby!
But why the fuck of hell (SORRY) gave Janukovic the order to kill these people ???!!
A disaster what i saw on TV ...

If this continue I fear this will escalate the E.U. in a very bad relation with Janukovic & Russia or even worse which as everyone could imagine !

"Sergei Lavrov Russia told European governments yesterday to stop meddling in Ukraine's political crisis"

Meddling Ukraine's political crisis???!!!
Of course Europe isn't meddled in but deeply in!
Come on Sergei Lavrov we cannot ignore that kind of behavior! Do you?
I'm convicted not alone twilling to say that...

Anna's picture

You should know the protests are not pro-European but antigovermental now.

Larissa's picture

Ukrainian people are fighting against the corrupt regime, for their rights and freedom from dictatorship. Currently, there are many hostages in prisons, missing and killed-martyred people by the "police", that the regime was able to bargain in the negotiations.
Governmental regime understands only talk of force and money, very much money, no compromises!

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