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Updated: EU Sanctions Against Ukraine And What They Mean For The Crisis.

The EU has placed targeted sanctions on key Ukrainian officials after more than 42 people died on the streets of Kyiv. Here are the key decisions, why they were made, and what the mean for the crisis.

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1. Frozen assets for those committing “human rights violations, violence and use of excessive force.”


Yanukovych's supporters have many documented European assets. Those identified as having committed crimes of violence will soon find their foreign deposits frozen by the EU.

This temporary financial loss could shift support away from Yanukovych, as those targeted consider whether he's worth the money they're losing. A shift in the balance of power in this way would bring the weakened president back to the negotiation table and more willing to step aside.

2. Banned visas to the EU

Via @KodeksuNET

A (unverified) picture showing a chartered flight from Ukraine turning back after being denied entry to Germany on Thursday 20th February.

Ensuring that Ukrainian officials are not welcome in Europe until the crisis has been peacefully resolved significantly isolates the Government from its regional and international partners. Ukrainian officials guilty of crimes will be unable to found safe haven abroad and further international pressure will aim to force Yanukovych to submit to European demands for a swift democratic agreement with the opposition.

3. Banned exports of 'internal repression' equipment.


A measure that sounds good until you realise the police are already well equipped to use repressive force against protesters....

It's not clear what will be banned but in Libya, 2011 these items included selling 'Vehicles equipped with a water cannon', firearms, ammunition, anti-riot helmets/shields and razor barbed wire. All tools that have seen a lot of action in Kyiv already.

4. Reassessment on military equipment exports.


The EU Foreign Affairs Committee was also expected to ban exports of military grade weapons and technology to the Ukrainian government. This decision was not taken because it was seen as an 'inappropriate' step while Ukrainian troops were on joint-EU missions abroad.

This may seem particularly shocking after police used live ammunition rounds over the last few days. Ukraine remains one of the top ten largest exporter of arms in the world though and are certainly well equipped already...

The EU (finally) signaled it won't back down on Ukraine.

Via @Auswartigesamt

The EU is calling for an end to the violence, discussions between leaders on both sides and new elections. Action to make this a reality has been hindered by fears of driving Ukrainian elites further into partnership with Russia, as happened with Belarus in 2006.

These developments and the presence of the Weimar triangle officials (Poland, Germany and France) have now placed Yanukovych under renewed international pressure to submit to a peaceful, democratic resolution quickly. The EU, US and international partners have always made clear that it wanted a democratic resolution, only now have they made a move to back these words up with sanctions.

Update (21/02/14, 10:59, 11:24 & 15:13 GMT) / Via @AuswaertigesAmt

(10:59) The Ukrainian president has just announced early elections, a promise of a coalition government and a return to the 2004 constitution, which limits presidential powers. Sanctions and negotiations brokered by the Weimar Triangle appeared to have worked.

(11.24) An EU Commission spokesperson has confirmed that sanctions preparation will continue until further notice:

Will #EU continue w/sanctions if deal reached w/Yanukovich? @EU_Commission spox sez y'day's decision "remains valid"; sanction preps go on— Peter Spiegel (@SpiegelPeter) February 21, 2014

(15:20) An agreement has been signed by the President, Opposition leaders and EU representatives. The Ukrainian Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a return to the 2004 constitution, re-establishing the parliamentary republic.

These welcome developments leave just two questions. Will Yanukovych keep his word and set elections soon? And will today's compromise be enough to satisfy the #Euromaidan protestors on the streets of Kyiv...

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