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EU Envoys Agree To Prolong Asset Freeze On Former Ukrainian President

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

European Union diplomats say ambassadors to the bloc have approved an extension of asset freezes imposed on former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and seven people in his inner circle over the embezzlement of Ukrainian state funds.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, several EU diplomats who are familiar with the matter said that the 27 envoys agreed on March 3 to remove former Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov and former Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk form the sanctions list.

They also gave their green light to a six-month rollover of sanctions against 177 individuals and 48 entities the bloc believes are responsible for the undermining of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Both sanctions regimes will officially be extended later this week.

Brussels imposed the measures against Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin former president, family members, and close political allies shortly after the collapse of his government in February 2014.

Some of the people listed have challenged, and sometimes won court cases against the measure, leading to growing demands that the list should be pared down further or even scrapped.

EU diplomats told RFE/RL that there were discussions about removing from the list the former minister for duties and revenues, Oleksandr Klymenko, and the son of the ex-president, Oleksandr Yanukovych, but that the pair will remain under sanctions for now.

In 2020, sanctions imposed on former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and ex-Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky were lifted. Andriy Klyuyev, the former head of Yanukovych's presidential administration, was delisted the previous year.

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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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