The FINANCIAL -- EU foreign ministers agreed to introduce targeted sanctions against those responsible for the violent crackdown in Ukraine, saying the EU was appalled and deeply dismayed by the deteriorating situation, according to EU Neighbourhood Info.
Meeting in an extraordinary session of the European Council in Brussels, ministers condemned all use of violence, stressing that those responsible for grave human rights violations should be brought to justice.
Amid the worsening situation in Ukraine, the EU has decided to introduce “targeted sanctions including asset freeze and visa ban against those responsible for human rights violations, violence and use of excessive force.” Member states agreed to suspend export licences on equipment which might be used for internal repression.
The Council asked the relevant working bodies in the Council to make the necessary preparations immediately, adding the scope of implementation would be decided in the light of developments in Ukraine, according to EU Neighbourhood Info.
Foreign ministers called for “an immediate end to the violence, full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right of access to medical assistance, and for urgent independent investigations into Human Rights violations, notably through the Council of Europe International Advisory Panel.” Ministers urged the Ukrainian government to abide by its obligations under international Human Rights instruments to which it is a State party.
The Council underlined that the prime responsibility for the current situation, and for taking the first step towards an inclusive and meaningful dialogue to deescalate the situation and find a political solution, lies squarely with President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian authorities.
The EU is ready to help de-escalate the situation, ministers stressed, working with the international community, including the OSCE and the Council of Europe. Elements for any lasting solution include constitutional reform, the formation of a new inclusive government and the creation of the conditions for democratic elections, they insisted.
The EU’s offer of political association and economic integration remains on the table, the Council underlined, stressing that the Association Agreement was not the final goal in EU-Ukraine cooperation.
Speaking after the Council meeting, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she had convened it in light of the really grave deterioration of the situation in Ukraine. Foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland – Minister Steinmeier, Minister Fabius and Minister Sikorski – are currently in Kyiv at her request to meet with President Yanukovych and leaders of the opposition, according to EU Neighbourhood Info.