Posts Tagged ‘EU sanctions’

EU sanctions 16 more Syrians over chemical attacks

July 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley holds photos of victims as the UN Security Council meets in an emergency session in April about a suspected deadly chemical attack that killed civilians, including children, in Syria

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions against 16 more high-ranking military Syrian officials and scientists over chemical weapons attacks on civilians, a statement said.

The move by the bloc’s foreign ministers brings to 255 people now facing a travel ban and an assets freeze over President Bashar al-Assad’s violent crackdown on civilians during a five-year civil war.

“The EU added these 16 persons for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population,” an EU statement said.

The EU will release the names of those hit by the sanctions on Tuesday, it said.

The UN’s chemical watchdog, the OPCW, last month concluded that sarin was used as a chemical weapon in the April 4 attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhun that killed at least 87 people including children.

The sanctions decision “shows the resolve of the UK and the rest of our friends in Europe in dealing with those who are responsible for chemical weapons attacks,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told reporters just before the decision was announced.

Syria is already subject to an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, as well as export restrictions.

It also is under sanctoins on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.

Russia’s Putin to Visit Slovenia to Improve European Ties — Putin’s visit considered “negative” — “Autocrats are pushing back against democrats”

July 30, 2016

The Associated Press

JULY 30, 2016, 3:21 PM EDT

Slovenia is delicately balanced between Europe, Russia…and Melania Trump.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting European Union and NATO-member Slovenia this weekend, signaling a bid to maintain ties amid simmering tensions between the Kremlin and the two Western-led blocs.

Slovenia, a small Alpine nation where U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s wife Melania was born and grew up, has kept friendly relations with Russia even as it joined EU sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine.

Still, Slovenia has been careful to portray Putin’s visit on Saturday as strictly informal—officially Putin is coming to attend a World War I memorial—and not contrary to the official EU policy of sanctions against Moscow.


Slovenian President Boris Pahor told Russia’s TASS agency the visit is designed to build trust and dialogue.

“(It) pays respect to the traditional friendship of Slovenia and Russia, despite some differences in the two countries’ relations over their positions on certain pressing issues,” Pahor said in comments published Friday by Slovenia’s official STA news agency.

Brexit Could Have Domino Effect in Eastern Europe

Slovenia, a country of 2 million people, became independent from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. It joined NATO and the EU in 2004.

The United States and the 28-nation EU imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its 2014 military takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for insurgents in eastern Ukraine. The sanctions have cut Russia’s access to global financial markets and blocked the transfer of key technologies. Russia has retaliated by banning most Western food imports, badly hurting many EU nations, including Slovenia.

Tensions with NATO also have been heightened with Russia’s increased military activity in Eastern Europe and NATO’s reinforcement of troops in the region.

Trump, whose wife Melania was born in the town of Sevnica while Slovenia was still part of Communist-run Yugoslavia, has sided with Putin on a wide range of issues, including saying that, if elected, he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and would not necessarily back NATO members if Putin decided to invade.

Vladimir Putin estimates that 7,000 people from the former Soviet Union have joined the Islamic State. Credit Alexei Druzhinin, AP

Putin has not openly backed Trump and the Kremlin denies reports that it is interfering in the U.S. electoral process.

While in Slovenia—his only third visit to an EU-member country this year—Putin will attend a commemoration of the centenary of a chapel in the Julian Alps, which was erected in the memory of dozens of Russian WWI prisoners of war who died in an avalanche while building a mountain pass for the Austrian army.

The annual event, seen as a symbol of friendship between Slovenia and Russia, was attended last year by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Putin will also unveil a memorial to Russian soldiers who died in World War II at the main cemetery in Ljubljana, the capital, and meet Slovenian officials.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the visit will also include talks “on bilateral issues and business ties.”
Slovenia’s economic ties with Moscow date back to the Yugoslav era and Russia is Slovenia’s top non-EU trading partner. But the trade between the two has dropped by nearly 30 percent since the Western sanctions were introduced.

Putin’s visit has angered Ukrainians living in Slovenia, who have announced protests. The Kiev ambassador to Slovenia, Mykhailo Brodovych, said he saw Putin’s visit as “negative.”

“These commemorative events are just a pretext for Putin to demonstrate that he is normally accepted in the country that is a member of the EU and NATO,” Brodovych wrote on his web page.

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How to Counter the Putin Playbook

Palo Alto, Calif. — A quarter-century ago, at the end of the Cold War, it seemed that only democracies promoted their values abroad. Today, autocracies have entered the arena again, exporting their ideas and methods — even to the United States.

Everywhere, autocrats are pushing back against democrats, and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is the de facto leader of this global movement.

Since returning to the Kremlin in 2012, Mr. Putin has consolidated his hold on power in Russia. With renewed vigor, he’s weakened civil society, undermined independent media, suppressed any opposition and scared off big business from supporting government critics. And he made the United States and its senior officials unwitting elements of his malign strategy.

Read the rest:

.http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/opinion/sunday/how-to-counter-the-putin-playbook.html?ref=world&_r=0

Iran condemns new US sanctions over missile test

January 18, 2016

BBC News

The UN says Iran must refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Fars/Reuters

Iran has denounced new sanctions imposed by the US over its ballistic missile programme.

The sanctions had “no legal or moral legitimacy”, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

In October, Iran tested a precision-guided ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, in defiance of a UN ban.

The US move came after global economic sanctions on Iran were lifted in line with a deal on its nuclear programme.

The new sanctions prevent 11 entities and individuals linked to the programme from using the US banking system.

Iran nuclear deal: Key details

Iran is back in business for now

Released prisoners leave Iran

Announcing the measures, Adam J Szubin, US acting under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said: “Iran’s ballistic missile programme poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions.”

However, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said on Monday: “Iran’s missile programme has never been designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”

He said: “The US sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile programme… have no legal or moral legitimacy.”

Mr Ansari added: “America sells tens of billions of dollars of weaponry each year to countries in the region. These weapons are used in war crimes against Palestinian, Lebanese and most recently Yemeni citizens.”

A UN resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles designed to carry nuclear weapons.
US President Barack Obama: “Iran will not get its hand on a nuclear bomb”

See video:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35340663

The new US move came just a day after sanctions against Iran were lifted over its nuclear programme.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had verified that Iran had restricted its sensitive nuclear activities.

Four American-Iranians in Iran and seven Iranians in the US were also freed in a prisoner swap deal on the day sanctions were lifted.

Media captionIranian President Hassan Rouhani: “Everyone has realised Iran is reliable”

The US had threatened to impose the missile test sanctions earlier but US sources said they were delayed as Washington did not want to undermine the nuclear deal negotiations – particularly over the prisoner swap.

The sanctions were announced only after a plane carrying the released prisoners had left Iran.

President Barack Obama hailed the nuclear deal as “smart”.

“Once again, we’re seeing what’s possible with international diplomacy,” he said.

But he said the US would “remain steadfast in opposing Iran’s destabilising behaviour elsewhere” – such as its missile tests.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday of the new sanctions: “Any action will be met by a reaction.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35340663

Lifting the nuclear sanctions

Nuclear sanctions have been in place since 2006, on top of other sanctions stretching back decades:

  • The economic sanctions being lifted now were imposed progressively by the US, EU and UN in response to Iran’s nuclear programme
  • The EU is lifting restrictions on trade, shipping and insurance in full
  • The US is suspending, not terminating, its nuclear-related sanctions; crucially, Iran can now reconnect to the global banking system
  • The UN is lifting sanctions related to defence and nuclear technology sales, as well as an asset freeze on key individuals and companies
  • Non-nuclear US economic sanctions remain in place, notably the ban on US citizens and companies trading with Iran, and US and EU sanctions on Iranians accused of sponsoring terrorism remain in place

A flurry of Iranian economic activity is anticipated:

  • Nearly $100bn (£70bn) of Iranian assets are being unlocked
  • Iran is expected to increase its daily export of 1.1m barrels of crude oil by 500,000 shortly, and a further 500,000 thereafter
  • Iran is reportedly poised to buy 114 new passenger planes from the Airbus consortium

What it means for Iran’s economy and world markets

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35340663

European Union Questions Russia’s Putin For Blacklist of EU Dignitaries “Outside Norms of International Law”

May 31, 2015

BBC News

The European Union has responded angrily to Russia’s entry ban against 89 European politicians, officials and military leaders.

Those banned are believed to include general secretary of the EU council Uwe Corsepius, and former British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Russia shared the list after several requests by diplomats, the EU said.

The EU called the ban “totally arbitrary and unjustified” and said no explanation had been provided.

Many of those on the list are outspoken critics of the Kremlin, and some have been turned away from Russia in recent months.

The EU said that it had asked repeatedly for the list of those banned, but nothing had been provided until now.

“The list with 89 names has now been shared by the Russian authorities. We don’t have any other information on legal basis, criteria and process of this decision,” an EU spokesman said on Saturday.

“We consider this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency,” he added.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte 24 April 2015

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the ban was “not based on international law”

The list of those barred from Russia has not been officially released, although what appears to be a leaked version (in German) is online.

A Russian foreign ministry official would not confirm the names of those barred, but said that the ban was a result of EU sanctions against Russia.

“Why it was precisely these people who entered into the list… is simple – it was done in answer to the sanctions campaign which has been waged in relation to Russia by several states of the European Union,” the official, who was not named, told Russian news agency Tass.

The official said Moscow had previously recommended that all diplomats from countries that imposed sanctions on Russia should check with Russian consular offices before travelling to see if they were banned.

“Just one thing remains unclear: did our European co-workers want these lists to minimise inconveniences for potential ‘denied persons’ or to stage another political show?” he said.

EU sanctions were imposed after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in March 2014, and they have been extended amid ongoing fighting between government troops and pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Bernard-Henri Levy 01 April 2015

French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy is an outspoken critic of Russian leader Vladimir Putin

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told journalists on Friday that the list had been shared with EU diplomats and that three Dutch politicians were on it. He said the ban was “not based on international law”.

British intelligence and military chiefs, including MI5 director general Andrew Parker, former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers and chief of the defence staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton are reportedly on the list.

Former British foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind told the AFP news agency that he had “read the reports in the media [of his ban] but not a word from the Russians”.

Britain’s foreign office said: “The Russian authorities have not provided any legal basis for the list or for the names on it.

“If Russia thinks this action will cause the EU to change its position on sanctions, it is wrong.”

Also said to be on the list are French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt and the EU’s former enlargement chief Stefan Fule.

‘A decent club’

Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, said that her country has asked for an explanation from Russia.

Eight Swedes are on the list, including Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt.

“I’m more proud than scared and this gives me more determination to continue… If the Kremlin takes me and my colleagues seriously it means we’re doing a good job,” Ms Bildt told AFP.

Karel Schwarzenberg stock photo 18 April 2013

Karel Schwarzenberg: “I consider this a reward”

The former Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, also said he was pleased to have made the list.

“When I saw the other names (on the list), I found out I was in a very decent club. I consider this a reward,” he was quoted as saying by the CTK news agency.

Other countries with names on the list reportedly include Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32949236

German increasingly support sanctions on Russia

November 28, 2014

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A woman leaves a destroyed house after it was damaged by recent shelling in the western part of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, November 27, 2014. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

A woman leaves a destroyed house after it was damaged by recent shelling in the western part of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, November 27, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Antonio Bronic

(Reuters) – The number of Germans supporting European Union economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis has risen in the last month and a large majority supports Chancellor Angela Merkel’s toughening stance, a poll on Friday found.

The Politbarometer poll for ZDF television found 58 percent back the EU sanctions even if they damage the German economy, up from 52 percent a month ago.

The poll also found that 76 percent backed the sharper tone of Merkel’s recent criticisms of President Vladimir Putin’s policies.

Putin gave a 30-minute prime-time interview to German public broadcaster ARD on Nov. 16 in which he appealed to the hearts and minds of German viewers by saying German-Russian relations had never been better.

In an unusually tough speech a day later, Merkel accused him of trampling on “the peaceful order in Europe.”

Polls have so far shown Germans to be wary of sanctions and German industry has warned that they could cost jobs.

(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Ukraine: Truce Ends Amid Gunfire– Government Cracking Down on Protesters — We Expect “This is Going to Continue to Escalate.”

February 20, 2014

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Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) — A shaky truce crumbled in Kiev Thursday morning, when gunfire erupted at the city’s Maidan, or Independence Square, which has been ground zero for anti-government protesters.

At least 20 protesters died, said Oleg Musiy, head of the protesters’ medical service. A police officer also was killed, the interior ministry said.

It’s unclear what prompted the gunfire. But CNN crews at the scene reported that as security forces were moving away from the area, a group of protesters pursued them, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

“Protesters broke the truce,” said a statement from President Viktor Yanukovych’s office.

“The opposition used the negotiation period to buy time, to mobilize and get weapons to protesters.”

Ukrainian protesters continue to clash with police in Independence Square in the capital of Kiev on Thursday, February 20. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators have packed the square since November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision on a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia.Ukrainian protesters continue to clash with police in Independence Square in the capital of Kiev on Thursday, February 20. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators have packed the square since November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision on a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia.
Protesters move up an embankment in Kiev on February 20. Protesters move up an embankment in Kiev on February 20.
An injured demonstrator is carried away from Independence Square in Kiev on February 20. An injured demonstrator is carried away from Independence Square in Kiev on February 20.
A protester shouts during clashes with police on February 20. A protester shouts during clashes with police on February 20.
Protesters run from a burning barricade in Kiev on February 20. Protesters run from a burning barricade in Kiev on February 20.
A protester rolls a tire toward burning barricades on February 20. A protester rolls a tire toward burning barricades on February 20.
Protesters advance to new positions in Kiev on February 20. Protesters advance to new positions in Kiev on February 20.
Fireworks explode over protesters near Independence Square on February 20. Fireworks explode over protesters near Independence Square on February 20.
Protesters stand behind a barricade in Kiev on February 20. Protesters stand behind a barricade in Kiev on February 20.
A protester holds a crucifix as he prays in Independence Square early February 20. A protester holds a crucifix as he prays in Independence Square early February 20.
Fireworks explode over protesters in Independence Square on February 19. Fireworks explode over protesters in Independence Square on February 19.
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail in Kiev on February 19. A protester throws a Molotov cocktail in Kiev on February 19.
Protesters clash with police in Independence Square on February 19. Protesters clash with police in Independence Square on February 19.
Protesters use a compressed air cannon to launch a Molotov cocktail toward police lines in Independence Square on February 19. Protesters use a compressed air cannon to launch a Molotov cocktail toward police lines in Independence Square on February 19.
Protesters clash with police in Kiev on February 19. The unrest in Ukraine intensified after an anti-protest law went into effect in January. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest the law, which was later repealed. Protesters clash with police in Kiev on February 19. The unrest in Ukraine intensified after an anti-protest law went into effect in January. Demonstrators took to the streets to protest the law, which was later repealed.
A protester hurls a Molotov cocktail toward police on February 19. A protester hurls a Molotov cocktail toward police on February 19.
Police take cover behind shields as fireworks go off in Kiev on February 19. Police take cover behind shields as fireworks go off in Kiev on February 19.
Protesters prepare a barricade in Independence Square on February 19. Protesters prepare a barricade in Independence Square on February 19.
Police form a line as the Trade Unions Building burns in Independence Square on February 19. Police form a line as the Trade Unions Building burns in Independence Square on February 19.
Police form a barrier in Independence Square on February 19. Police form a barrier in Independence Square on February 19.
Protesters in Kiev throw rocks at riot police in Independence Square on February 19. Protesters in Kiev throw rocks at riot police in Independence Square on February 19.
Independence Square smolders during protests on February 19. Independence Square smolders during protests on February 19.
Protesters walk in the rubble of Independence Square on February 19. Protesters walk in the rubble of Independence Square on February 19.
Protesters gather in Kiev on February 19. Protesters gather in Kiev on February 19.
A protester throws a cobblestone at riot police during clashes in Independence Square on February 19. A protester throws a cobblestone at riot police during clashes in Independence Square on February 19.
Riot police officers rest against a column in Independence Square on February 19. Riot police officers rest against a column in Independence Square on February 19.
Protesters stand in Independence Square on February 19. Protesters stand in Independence Square on February 19.
An injured protester is moved out during clashes with riot police in Kiev on February 19. An injured protester is moved out during clashes with riot police in Kiev on February 19.
A protester uses a slingshot to throw a rock at riot police February 19 in Kiev. A protester uses a slingshot to throw a rock at riot police February 19 in Kiev.
Riot police line up in Kiev on February 19. Riot police line up in Kiev on February 19.
Protesters put on gas masks near the perimeter of Independence Square on February 19. Protesters put on gas masks near the perimeter of Independence Square on February 19.
Protesters brace themselves for more violence in Kiev on February 19. Protesters brace themselves for more violence in Kiev on February 19.
A protester throws a stone in Kiev on February 19. A protester throws a stone in Kiev on February 19.
Protesters protect themselves with shields as they clash with police in Kiev on February 19. Protesters protect themselves with shields as they clash with police in Kiev on February 19.
An injured protester waits to be treated in a Kiev monastery, converted into a makeshift hospital, on February 19. An injured protester waits to be treated in a Kiev monastery, converted into a makeshift hospital, on February 19.
Protesters sleep on the floor inside a Kiev monastery on February 19. Protesters sleep on the floor inside a Kiev monastery on February 19.
Protesters clash with police in Independence Square on February 19. Protesters clash with police in Independence Square on February 19.
A protester rushes through a broken door in the regional prosecutor's office in Lviv, Ukraine, on February 19. Police said the unrest has spread to western Ukraine, with protesters attacking police and local government offices in a number of regions. A protester rushes through a broken door in the regional prosecutor’s office in Lviv, Ukraine, on February 19. Police said the unrest has spread to western Ukraine, with protesters attacking police and local government offices in a number of regions.
Protesters in Lviv burn papers from a government building on February 19. Protesters in Lviv burn papers from a government building on February 19.
A protester aims a weapon in Kiev on Tuesday, February 18. A protester aims a weapon in Kiev on Tuesday, February 18.
Riot police storm Independence Square on February 18. Riot police storm Independence Square on February 18.
A protester runs during clashes with police in Kiev on February 18. A protester runs during clashes with police in Kiev on February 18.
Protesters clash with police in Independence Square on February 18. Protesters clash with police in Independence Square on February 18.
Protesters watch clashes in Kiev on February 18. Protesters watch clashes in Kiev on February 18.
Violence between police and protesters escalates February 18 in Kiev. Violence between police and protesters escalates February 18 in Kiev.
Riot police stand firm in Kiev on February 18. Riot police stand firm in Kiev on February 18.
Protesters burn a car in central Kiev on February 18. Protesters burn a car in central Kiev on February 18.
A protester stands atop a barricade in Kiev on February 18. A protester stands atop a barricade in Kiev on February 18.
 
A protester is engulfed in flames while running from the clashes in Kiev on February 18. .
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A protester is engulfed in flames while running from the clashes in Kiev on February 18.
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Riot police detain a protester in Kiev on February 18.
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Riot police detain a protester in Kiev on February 18.
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Protesters invade the main office of the ruling Party of Regions in Kiev on February 18.
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Protesters invade the main office of the ruling Party of Regions in Kiev on February 18.
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Riot police shield themselves during clashes with protesters on February 18. .
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Riot police shield themselves during clashes with protesters on February 18.
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Protesters throw stones toward riot police in Kiev on February 18. .
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Protesters throw stones toward riot police in Kiev on February 18.
Photos: Ukraine protests turn deadly Photos: Ukraine protests turn deadly

When the bullets flew, several demonstrators fell to the ground.

Protesters grabbed the wounded by their clothes or limbs, and carried many of them to a hotel lobby at one end of the square that had been converted into a triage center.

Bodies, covered in bloodied sheets, lay on the floor. Orthodox priests prayed over them.

Medical workers had no chance to save many of those who died, said Olga Bogomolets, a doctor.

“They were shot directly to their hearts, their brain and to their neck,” she said.

As police hastened their withdrawal, demonstrators rushed to fortify their barricades, which they then reignited.

The tent city was once again in their hands.

Death toll unclear

It’s unclear exactly how many people died Thursday. Speculation ran rampant. Various figures were thrown around.

No one wanted a repeat of Tuesday, when 28 people died — police and protesters alike.

It was the deadliest day of the protests, which began in November when Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia.

That dissatisfaction has since morphed into resentment of Yanukovych, his closeness to Russia, and the power he wields.

The violence caused political fallout in the President’s own party and elsewhere.

Kiev Mayor Volodymyr Makeenko announced his resignation from office and the country’s ruling party, according to the city administration website. The same post also announced that the city’s metro transit system is reopening.

At the Sochi Olympics, Ukrainian athletes wearing black mourning bands held a moment of silence Thursday for fellow citizens slain in the violence erupting in Kiev, the Ukrainian Olympic committee said.

Talks and truce

Thursday’s violent developments came just hours after the President announced a truce — and opposition leaders agreed to abide by it

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, a former world-class boxer, met with Yanukovych Wednesday — discussions that led to the truce. He was expected to sit down with the President Thursday as well, but after the latest violence and deaths, it’s not clear if the meeting will still take place.

Foreign ministers from Germany, France and Poland were meeting with Yanukovych at midday Thursday, according to Ukrainian and German media reports. Later in the day, European foreign ministers are scheduled to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels on the situation in Ukraine.

Wednesday, the countries had spoken about the possibility of sanctions against Ukraine’s government.

Russia’s foreign ministry appeared to criticize Western diplomatic efforts, according to a report by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

“The ongoing attempts to obtrusively intervene from outside, threat with sanctions or trying to influence the situation in any other ways are inappropriate and can’t lead to anything good but can only aggravate the confrontation,” the report quoted spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich.

Bracing for crackdown

Senior officials in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration told CNN Wednesday they were bracing for Ukraine to intensify its crackdown under pressure from Russia.

“Things have gotten very bad,” one official said. “The government is speaking in very nasty, aggressive and confrontational terms. It signals they are prepared to do something.”

France has threatened sanctions against Ukraine over the government’s crackdown, with President Francois Hollande calling the protest violence “unspeakable, unacceptable, intolerable acts.”

But analysts warned there was little that outside pressure could do, especially if the Ukrainian military gets involved on the side of the government cracking down on protesters.

“My own hunch,” said Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, “is this is going to continue to escalate.”

READ: Explainer: What and who are behind Ukraine’s political crisis?

iReport: Protester describing bloodied people being rushed to medics

READ: U.S. talks tough, but options limited in Ukraine

CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh, Phil Black, Andrew Carey and Todd Baxter reported from Kiev, while CNN’s Ben Brumfield reported and wrote from Atlanta.