News / Europe

EU Calls for Ukraine Elections, Shies Away From Sanctions

EU Calls For Ukraine Elections, Shies Away From Sanctionsi
X
February 11, 2014 3:07 AM
The European Union is calling for the formation of a new government in Ukraine, to be followed by free and fair presidential elections - but has stopped short of calling for sanctions. Anti-government protests erupted in November after President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of signing a trade deal with the European Union. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Henry Ridgwell
The European Union has called for the formation of a new government in Ukraine, to be followed by free and fair presidential elections. But it stopped short Monday of calling for sanctions. Anti-government protests erupted in November after President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of signing a trade deal with the European Union.
 
Barricades still block off the heart of Kyiv as the standoff between protesters and the government enters its third week.

The opposition’s demand that Yanukovych step down has been amplified by the European Union.

Meeting in Brussels Monday, EU foreign ministers issued a joint statement urging the formation of a new government and constitutional reforms that would pave the way to free and fair presidential elections.

“We are working closely with civil society leaders who I’ve spent some time with, talking about their issues and concerns," said Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs chief. "The importance of stopping any form of violence; bringing to justice those who have perpetrated that violence; and moving forward to the work of the parliament on constitutional reform which is a key part of trying to solve this crisis; and onwards to free and fair elections."

As the EU offers closer trade ties, it has stopped short of imposing sanctions.

But Orysia Lutsevych of the London-based policy institute Chatham House says the EU should target the wealthy backers of Ukraine’s leadership.

“The oligarchs, the business people. And I’m not talking here about sanctions as such. I’m talking about the existing legal basis of scrutiny of financial accounts in European banks of politically exposed people," she said. "And we do know there are senior government officials in Ukraine who are banking in Europe - and the source of this funding is quite dubious."

Yanukovych turned away from signing a trade deal with Europe in November, choosing a loan agreement with Moscow.

All eyes are now on Russia as it hosts the Winter Olympics. Once that scrutiny is lifted, many protesters in Ukraine fear another crackdown by authorities - backed by Russia.

“There are some really quite worrying comments coming out of Moscow about Moscow’s thinking that maybe Ukraine would be better if it were federalized, which I think is code for some sort of split between east and west," said Ian Bond, who is from the analyst group, Center for European Reform.

As the geopolitical rivalry plays out, the protesters say they will not leave their barricades until their demands are met.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid