World Bulletin / News Desk
An agreement on resolving the crisis in Ukraine was reached at all-night talks involving President Viktor Yanukovich, the opposition and three European Union ministers, the presidential press service said on Friday.
It said in a statement that the deal would be signed at noon (1000 GMT) but gave no details. The opposition and EU ministers did not immediately confirm agreement had been reached and diplomatic sources said the talks had been "very difficult."
Three EU envoys met with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday for a second round of talks after discussing the ongoing crisis with opposition leaders.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, France’s Laurent Fabius and Poland’s Radoslaw Sikorski had earlier in the day met with Yanukovych and the opposition.
The three EU envoys discussed with Yanukovych a roadmap to end the violence in the country, according to tweets from Polish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski.
At least 86 people were killed in deadly clashes in Kiev over the last 48 hours in violent clashes, according to a statement from Ukraine's Health Ministry.
Mass anti-government protests began in November when President Yanukovych refused to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union amid pressure from Russia.
EU agrees on sanctions
Italy’s Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said that the EU would freeze the assets of those responsible for the violence and impose a visa travel ban. Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said the sanctions will be issued in a couple days.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore also confirmed the decision, saying a working group has been appointed to list those responsible for the violence to impose sanctions.
Gilmore said that the EU suspended anti-riot equipment exports and that the sanctions would be adjusted according to the developments in Ukraine.
Greece’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos earlier on Thursday called for an end to the violence.
“The violence has escalated and the dead are increasing. It is an obligation to stop the violence,” Venizelos added.
“The role of the EU is crucial, as is the role of the United States and Russia. The international community has an obligation to mobilize and help the country by exercising every legal and permissible pressure so that it stands and not let developments descend into civil war," he stressed
Russia’s FM dubs EU sanctions against Ukraine “blackmail”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday the EU's sanctions against Ukraine are “blackmail and double standard.”
“The (Ukrainian) opposition cannot or does not want to dissociate itself from extremists. The US lays all the blame on the Ukrainian government – this is a double standard,” said Lavrov at a press conference in Baghdad.
“The EU is also trying to discuss sanctions, at the same time there are uninvited missions coming to Ukraine. This is blackmail,” the minister added.
German chancellor discusses Ukraine with US, Russia presidents
German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed on Thursday by phone the latest developments in Ukraine with US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said in a written statement that Merkel informed Obama and Putin about the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland’s meetings with the government and opposition parties in Kiev.
“The chancellor and the presidents have reached an agreement to call for a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine as quickly as possible and for an end to the bloodbath,” said the spokesperson.
Merkel spoke earlier with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and called for an end to the violence.
White House 'outraged' by clampdown
The White House struck out at the Ukrainian government’s continued clampdown on anti-government protesters in capital Kiev, which has left at least 36 dead and scores more injured.
“We are outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement released to the press.
He again called on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to pull back security services from downtown Kiev, and urged the Ukrainian military not to get involved in the ongoing violence.
“The use of force will not resolve the crisis - clear steps must be taken to stop the violence and initiate meaningful dialogue that reduces tension and addresses the grievances of the Ukrainian people,” said Carney.
“We urge the Ukrainian military not to get involved in a conflict that can and should be resolved by political means,” he added.
The Press Secretary added that Washington would continue to work with its European allies to resolve the conflict, and bring those responsible to account.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry refuses to take Pentagon calls
The Pentagon said on Thursday that the US military’s calls to their Ukrainian counterparts have gone unanswered.
“We haven't been able to connect with anybody from the defense ministry in Ukraine,” said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby while speaking to reporters.
According to Kirby, the Pentagon has been trying to phone their counterparts for the entire week.
Kirby’s announcement comes as the White House continues to call on the Ukrainian military to remain neutral in the conflict.
Ukrainian opposition leader calls on army to disobey orders
"Berkut fighters and interior ministry troops must not carry out illegal orders, protect the people!" Ukrainian opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko said on Thursday
In a statement released on the official website of his Udar Party, Klitschko said that people will not attack the police.
"This violence must be stopped. You can help to do it," said Klitschko.
He also demanded that police snipers leave the city rooftops.
"Do not allow yourself to be used in a war against the same people with whom you gave an oath to defend! Stay with the people! Do not carry out the criminal orders of a government that the whole country has rebelled against," Klitschko said in his statement to the army.Last Mod: 21 Şubat 2014, 16:04