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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid