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EU Considering Ukraine Sanctions, Russia Denounces 'Attempted Coup'

Catherine Ashton
Catherine Ashton
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has summoned the bloc's foreign ministers for emergency talks on Ukraine in Brussels on February 19.
Ashton said on February 18 that “all possible options" should be explored, including "restrictive measures against those responsible for repression and human rights violations."
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he expects that “targeted measures against those responsible” for the violence in Ukraine and the use of excessive force during protests can be agreed by EU member states “as a matter of urgency.”

"We have also made it clear that the European Union will respond to any deterioration on the ground," Barroso said.

"That's why we expect that targeted measures against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force can be agreed by our member states and we hope they consider this as a matter of urgency as it was already proposed by the High Representative/Vice President of the [European] Commission Catherine Ashton."
The comments come after clashes between police and antigovernment protesters in Kyiv left 25 people dead.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt blamed President Viktor Yanukovych for the bloodshed, saying he had "blood on his hands."
Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry described the latest events in Ukraine as an attempt to "forcibly seize power."
The ministry also demanded that opposition leaders end the "bloodshed" in their country and resume dialogue.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich also said Moscow was "outraged" by the absence of reaction from Western nations and Ukrainian opposition leaders to radicals' actions.

"Essentially this amounts to an attempt of a power takeover by force. The absence of any reaction to the actions of radicals from the leaders of [Ukrainian] opposition, who hide behind demagogic slogans about their allegiance to democracy and European values while pandering a brown [fascist] revolution, is outrageous," Lukashevich said.

"Also, we so far have failed to see any reaction from European politicians and structures who refuse to admit that the entire responsibility for the actions of radical forces in Ukraine falls squarely on the opposition."
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin spoke with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych late on February 18.
Peskov said the Russian president wants to see an early settlement in Ukraine but "does not give advice" to Yanukovych.
Peskov insisted that Moscow is sticking to its policy of non-interfering in what is happening in Ukraine.
He added that at the moment, he could not comment on Russia's releasing a second tranche of a multibillion loan agreed last year.
Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters
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