The extraordinary council of EU foreign ministers held yesterday in Brussels decided to issue a visa and financial asset ban on the perpetrators of violence in Ukraine”, reported Minister Emma Bonino as she left the council before its conclusion. The minister also announced the opening of visa simplifications “for the wounded, civil society and dissidents”.
“Attempt at close, critical dialogue also with the Russians”
The decision on the sanctions has not yet been formally taken by the council, but it is imminent. “The first priority is to prevent the country from exploding”, Bonino said, reporting that, in agreement with the three EU colleagues in Kiev, the council took the “decision to attempt a close, critical dialogue that also included the Russians”. “Our position is that power comes with responsibility, so the responsibility is, first and foremost, with the regime and the government. It must also be acknowledged that there are extremist groups and infiltrators of various types that we cannot pretend not to see”. This in response to those asking if the sanctions would also affect the Ukrainian opposition. The foreign minister underscored that “the document says sanctions will be extended to all persons who have perpetrated violence, and this, in my opinion, is very important”.
20 February 2014, 12:00
The EU has to act on Ukraine “in a very decisive way, but also gradual”, because “I have the impression that this crisis is going to be rather long”, Minister for Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino commented upon her arrival at an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
Bonino calls for sanctions, but also humanitarian action
In Europe’s response to Ukraine, in addition to sanctions “there has to be humanitarian support and receptiveness to the wounded and other requests that will be made of us”. The extraordinary council discussed measures such as “visa sanctions, I hope a weapons embargo and the question of financial assets”. To those who asked if the European sanctions under discussion would only affect the Ukrainian authorities or also opposition members that have been responsible for violent acts, the minister responded “those who hold the power have the greater responsibility, this is a principle that we should always bring to bear”.
Minister says maintain dialogue with Russia
According to Bonino, regarding the Ukrainian question, Europe must keep the dialogue going with Moscow. “I really do not believe there is any alternative; and then open channels can also mean firm dialogue, very firm, but certainly dialogue”.
19 February 2014
Ukraine: Bonino cites risk of civil war at EU’s doorstep – “Both sides must halt violence, possible sanctions”
“The seriousness of the current upheaval in Kiev places Ukrainians in a dramatic situation of unacceptable violence that we must, as Europeans, most firmly condemn. It is with deepest concern that the concrete risk of civil war, at the doorstep of the European Union, must be considered and eliminated”, Minister Emma Bonino said in a press release today.
An end to the violence
I join my European colleagues in reiterating our appeal to the Ukraine authorities to cease its violent, indiscriminate and disproportionate reactions to the popular protests, which must be allowed to be held peacefully and within the law. Abuses against the civilian population can no longer be tolerated, nor can the incitement of extremist or violent factions. Although the margin for negotiation between the government and opposition groups appears slimmer than ever in recent hours, there is no true alternative to the resumption of dialogue.
If clashes continue possible EU measures
If the violence continues, we cannot rule out recourse to exceptional restrictive measures”.