US PREPARING FINANCIAL SANCTIONS AGAINST UKRAINE

Daily Telegraph of London on January 30, 2014, published a Reuter report on the Obama administration preparing financial sanctions that could be imposed on Ukrainian officials and protest leaders if violence escalates in the political crisis gripping Ukraine, congressional aides have said. Excerpts below:

Congressional aides, who asked not to be identified by name, said they had discussed the sanction preparations with administration officials.

They said final details of the package have not been worked out, but it could be put in place quickly against government officials – or leaders of the protest movement – in case of widespread violence.

Six people have been killed in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities in protests that erupted more than two months ago…

Alarmed by the crisis, Washington has revoked the visas of some Ukrainian officials.

President Barack Obama referred to Ukraine in his State of the Union address on January 28, voicing support for the principle that all people have the right to free expression.

Vice President Joe Biden has spoken to Yanukovich at least three times. And two US senators, Republican John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut, travelled to Kiev last month and addressed demonstrations.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 29 passed a resolution calling on all sides in the confrontation to refrain from violence and work toward a peaceful resolution.

“The situation in Ukraine remains very volatile and more needs to be done,” said Representative Eliot Engel, the New York Democrat who sponsored the resolution. “We must remain engaged.”

“We were encouraged that Ukraine’s parliament repealed the most egregious of the most anti-democratic laws. Today we want to urge President Yanukovich to sign the repeal laws,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a news briefing.

She told reporters the State Department has been willing to consider sanctions but no decision has been made.

Putin raised the pressure on Ukraine on January 29, saying Russia would wait until Ukraine forms a new government before fully implementing a $15 billion bailout deal that Kiev urgently needs.

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