“Discussion is underway in the Council, but there is no decision [yet]. This has to do with some cases of individual sanctions that we have adopted against more than 20 persons that have close ties with Ukraine’s former regime,” said a diplomatic source under the condition of anonymity.
According to the diplomat, the council is working “in close interaction with the judicial authorities in Kiev.” The Kiev government provided the EU with a list of persons, who were under investigation in Ukraine during the period when the bloc was first drafting the blacklist.
“They gave us the names of people who were under investigation in Ukraine. We have some news from our colleagues in Kiev, the judicial authorities, that some of them will not be under investigation anymore and we are discussing whether we should remove them from our [sanctions] list,” the diplomat said. He added that cases against some of the people from the list have been closed, while in other cases the grounds for prosecution have been changed.
After the February coup, the new Ukrainian authorities have been investigating the country’s former president Viktor Yanukovych as well as a number of other former high-ranking officials on allegations of seizing state property, financial fraud and abuse of official position.
On March 5, the Council of the European Union froze the European assets of Yanukovych and 17 other high-ranking officials, including the former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, former Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko and former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov “with a view to consolidating and supporting the rule of law and respect for human rights in Ukraine.”
Since May Viktor Yanukovych and other former Ukrainian officials have been applying to the EU court to have the sanctions lifted.