France says EU sanctions "probable" over Ukraine

by Reuters
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 10:02 GMT

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PARIS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - France and Germany will discuss the political crisis in Ukraine on Wednesday with EU sanctions on individuals "probable", French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, a day after 25 people were killed in the country.

"We are not going to remain indifferent. France intends to act," he said.

"(There will be) deliberations with the German delegation and probably sanctions," he said, referring to the possibility of European measures.

France and Germany were already scheduled to hold a joint meeting of their cabinets in Paris later in the day.

"There can be a range of sanctions, notably individual ones against those behind the violence ... Those responsible cannot remain unpunished. We'd like to work with the Germans on the idea of sanctions at EU level," he added.

Fabius called on both sides to resume dialogue and ensure the situation returned to calm as quickly as possible. President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel are due to hold a news conference later.

Protesters re-assembled in a Kiev square on Wednesday, ready for new confrontations with police after the bloodiest day since the former Soviet republic, caught in a geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West, won its independence.

Western powers have warned President Viktor Yanukovich against trying to smash the pro-European demonstrations, urging him to turn back to the EU and the prospect of an IMF-supported economic recovery, while Russia accused them of meddling.

Until now they have stopped short of calling for sanctions over fears it would exacerbate the crisis by pushing Kiev closer to Moscow. (Reporting By John Irish and Alexandria Sage; editing by Mark John)

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