08:27 GMT07 April 2020
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    The Council of Europe extended EU restrictive measures against Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych and members of his entourage.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The Council of the European Union has extended sanctions against Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych and his closest associates, the Council said Thursday in a press release.

    "The Council has extended EU restrictive measures focused on the freezing and recovery of misappropriated Ukrainian state funds. The measures consist in an asset freeze on persons subject to initial investigations on the embezzlement of Ukrainian state funds, including former President Viktor Yanukovych," the press release on the Council's website said.

    The legal acts will be available in the EU Official Journal on March 6.

    Meanwhile, a European diplomat told RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity that the original sanctions list of 22 members of the former president's entourage has been reduced to 18.

    On March 5, 2014, the Council of the European Union froze the European assets of Yanukovych and 17 other high-ranking officials, including 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 2014, Viktor Yanukovych and other former Ukrainian officials have been applying to the EU court to have the sanctions lifted.

    In February, The Wall Street Journal citing its sources said that the European Union would remove some names from the sanctions list as the Ukrainian authorities did not provide substantial evidence on corrupt activity charges.

    Yanukovych was elected President of Ukraine on February 25, 2010 to serve a five-year term. He was ousted from power in February, 2014, after months of mass protests caused by his decision not to sign an EU association agreement. He fled to Russia, fearing for his life, and is currently wanted in Ukraine on charges of corruption and abuse of power.


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