EU extends sanctions against ex-Ukraine president: source

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  • Viktor Yanukovych
    Viktor Yanukovych
    Ukrainian politician who was the President of Ukraine

Brussels (AFP) - The European Union on Friday extended sanctions against former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych for embezzling state funds just before pro-EU protests ousted him in 2014, an EU source said Friday.

The European Council, which groups leaders of the bloc's 28 member states, said it agreed to extend for another year "asset freezes against 15 people identified as responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian state funds or for the abuse of office causing a loss to Ukrainian public funds."

The source said Yanukovych, who fled to Russia, was on a list of 15 names which will be published on Saturday. One person was removed from the sanctions list, the EU said.

In September, a top EU court rejected an appeal by Yanukovych, his son and a top aide against the sanctions for the period March 2015 to March 2016, but annulled them for the previous one year period on a technicality.

An EU official told AFP at the time that the General Court's decision meant Yanukovych, his son Oleksandr and aide Andriy Klyuyev "remain subject to the EU asset freeze."

Yanukovych sparked massive protests when he ditched an association accord with the EU, and then fled to Russia in early 2014 after a bloody crackdown in Kiev failed to quell the demonstrations.

As the Ukraine crisis deepened, the EU has imposed a series of asset freezes and travel bans on Russian as well as Ukrainian figures and companies said to have undermined the country's sovereignty by abetting Moscow's intervention and its March 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Since then, fighting between pro-Moscow rebels and the government has cost some 10,000 lives in eastern Ukraine despite repeated international efforts to forge a lasting ceasefire.

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