#AceNewsServices says `German FM threatens sanctions against `Ukraine Government’ over crisis’
BERLIN, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) — Germany must act decidedly in response to the crisis in Ukraine and sanctions against the government should be used as a threat if efforts seeking to find a political solution are rejected, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday.
Steinmeier described the situation in Ukraine as “highly explosive” in an interview with Germany’s ARD television late on Monday.
“I think we must now show sanctions as a threat,” the minister said, adding that Germany had to be ready to opt for these measures if talks between the government and opposition did not lead to “expected and demanded progress.”
Talks between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leader Vitali Klychko are planned for Tuesday in Kiev, which is also expected to be attended by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reports said.
The sanction comments of Steinmeier, who called for engagement of German government to help create a political solution to end the Ukrainian crisis, strike a different tone from the line taken so far by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said last week there was no question of sanctions at the moment.
Ukraine has been hit by more than two months of protests following a government decision to put on hold an association agreement with the European Union and opt for closer relations with Russia.
Demonstrations turned violent on Jan. 19, when radical activists attacked riot police with fireworks and petrol bombs. At least four people were reportedly killed and hundreds of others, including police officers, injured during clashes between protesters and the government forces in the past two weeks.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference that Ukrainian government had met all the requirements of the opposition and the latter should do their part to end the crisis in the East European country.
Yanukovych on Monday warned Ukrainians against fomenting extremism and radicalism in the society. Earlier in the day, he returned to work from four days of sick leave from acute respiratory disease.