European leaders threaten sanctions over Kiev bloodshed

Europe’s leaders are to consider urgent sanctions against Ukraine after the worst violence in months of unrest claimed at least 26 lives, the BBC reports.

Violence that began on Tuesday continued through the night as police tried to uproot the protest stronghold in the capital Kiev.

President Viktor Yanukovych blamed opposition leaders and Russia spoke of an attempted coup.

But the EU said it expected measures to target those behind the “repression.”

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso spoke of the responsibility of “the political leadership” while several EU countries said they had no doubts that the Ukrainian authorities were to blame.

With an emergency meeting due to take place on Thursday, EU leaders have been expressing concern:

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said: “I will today hold talks with the leaders of the biggest EU countries and European institutions, and persuade them to impose sanctions – personal and financial.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said President Yanukovych had “blood on his hands.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said sanctions were “probable.”

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