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21 January, 2014 19:39   ▪  

The EUobserver: individual EU countries could impose unilateral sanctions against Ukrainian authorities

A senior government source from another EU state told The EUobserver that individual EU countries could impose unilateral measures pending an EU-level accord.

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has broken the EU’s silence on potential sanctions on Ukraine.

Answering the questions about sanctions against Ukrainian authorities before an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Monday (20 January), he said : “I wouldn’t exclude it … We’ll have to see what happens”.

Half-way through the talks, he tweeted: “EU must start looking at effective instruments against corrupt actors manoeuvering also in the dark corners of the politics of Ukraine.”

He told press after the meeting: “I think we should look towards various instruments targeted against corrupt money [in Ukraine].”

As for now, Swedish diplomats declined to give more details.

But an EU source noted “there was some discussion on sanctions, some countries raised the subject” at the ministers’ lunchtime debate - the first time the issue has come up in EU talks since Ukraine began its crackdown on protesters.

Meanwhile, Bildt’s remarks do not come out of the blue.

The US has already put Ukrainian interior minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko and up to 20 other officials on a draft sanctions list.

A senior government source from another EU state told EUobserver that indivudual EU countries could impose unilateral measures pending an EU-level accord.

“You can have national blacklists based on purely national decisions,” the contact said.

They added: “It would be difficult to target oligarchs because, even in the national systems, you need to say why such and such a person is on the list and this could not be a purely political argument. I think, first of all, you would target officials responsible for the use of force.”

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