The Norwegian government decided Thursday night to adhere to sanctions imposed by the European Union against authorities in Ukraine. Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende called the situation “extremely critical” and repeated earlier condemnation of the Ukrainian authorities’ violence against civilians.
“The situation in the country is extremely critical, with a steadily increasing number of persons killed,” Brende said in a press statement. “Norway will join the sanctions that a unified European Union stands behind.”
At an extraordinary meeting in Brussels Thursday night, EU officials approved sanctions that include visa restrictions against Ukrainian authorities. The EU has also frozen bank accounts of various individuals deemed directly responsible for the violence and shootings that have left scores of persons dead in the past few days. Many describe the situation in Kiev as a “bloodbath,” with snipers shooting demonstrators and reinforcements moving in.
The EU and Norway are also halting exports to Ukraine of equipment that can be used for internal repression. Foreign ministry officials said that details around the sanctions were unclear but would be defined and revealed shortly.
“It’s important for Norway to cooperate with other neighbouring countries so that the sanctions can have the largest possible effect,” Brende said. He noted that EU officials have had meetings with both the embattled Ukrainian president and the opposition in Ukraine in hopes of finding a solution to the crisis. “Norway supports this work,” Brende said.
He stressed that all forms of violence by all parts in the conflict are unacceptable. “The authorities have special responsibility for protecting the security of all Ukrainians, so that more deaths and injuries can be avoided,” he said.