Merkel, Tusk against Ukraine sanctions

Berlin, Jan 31: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and visiting Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk Friday rejected the use of sanctions against Ukraine in the wake of anti-government protests in the country.

“We do not feel the need to examine this issue right now,” Merkel said after meeting Tusk in Berlin, adding “not for the time-being”.

Both leaders stressed that all Europeans were hoping of a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, reported Xinhua.

Merkel called on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign a bill withdrawing controversial anti-demonstration laws that were passed last week by the Ukrainian parliament.

“The words must now be followed by action,” said Merkel.

Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged the European Union to impose sanctions against Yanukovych.

The US government is said to be preparing sanctions against several Ukrainian political leaders. The US has already revoked the visas of several Ukrainian government representatives.

Ukraine’s wave of protests seems unlikely to subside any time soon. Activists said they would continue to stage demonstrations, pressing for fulfilment of all their demands, including early presidential and parliamentary elections, release of all detained protesters and a review of the constitution.

Ukraine’s opposition spilled onto the streets in November last year after Yanukovych abandoned a trade deal with the European Union in favour of closer economic ties with Russia.

IANS