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EU Ambassadors Agree To Prolong Sanctions On Yanukovych, Associates

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

BRUSSELS -- European Union ambassadors have decided to prolong asset freezes imposed by Brussels against Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych and 14 of his associates.

The decision on March 2 by the ambassadors sets up a vote by EU ministers who are expected to confirm the one-year extension when they meet in Brussels on March 3.

One politician who previously had been sanctioned by the EU, Yuriy Ivanyushchenko from Yanukovych's former party, the Party of the Regions, has been removed from the sanctions list that was approved by the EU ambassadors on March 2.

Ivanyushchenko recently was cleared of any wrongdoing by Ukraine's high court.

The EU sanctions were imposed shortly after the collapse of Yanukovych's government in February 2014 against people who, according to the EU, "were responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds or for abuse of office causing a loss to Ukrainian public funds."

Apart from Yanukovych, the list includes his son Oleksandr Yanukovych, former Prime Ministers Mykola Azarov and Serhiy Arbuzov, and the head of Yanukovych's administration, Andriy Kliuiev.

Ukraine's former Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka, former Justice Minister Olena Lukash, and former Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko remain on the EU sanctions list.

The European Court of Justice in 2016 rejected challenges filed against the sanctions by Yanukovych and others on the list.

The court ruled that the reason for imposing sanctions against them was lawful.

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    Rikard Jozwiak

    Rikard Jozwiak is the Europe editor for RFE/RL in Prague, focusing on coverage of the European Union and NATO. He previously worked as RFE/RL’s Brussels correspondent, covering numerous international summits, European elections, and international court rulings. He has reported from most European capitals, as well as Central Asia.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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