Ukraine - France - European Union

French, German, Polish foreign ministers meet Ukraine's Yanukovyvch

Kiev's Maidan on Thursday morning
Kiev's Maidan on Thursday morning Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili

The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland began a meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovyvch on Thursday morning, despite earlier reports that they had left Kiev because of security concerns, a presidential spokesperson said.


France's Laurent Fabius, Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Poland's Radosław Sikorski held emergency talks with Yanukovyvch ahead of a European Union meeting to discuss sanctions over the violence that has hit Kiev in recent days.

The meeting started late because of the security situation and shortly before it started there were reports that the three ministers had left.

France on Wednesday called for the EU to take against Ukrainian government representatives after at least 25 people were killed on Kiev's Maidan square on Tuesday night.

At least 25 bodies were lying on the square on Thursday morning, the AFP news agency reports.

Yanukovyvch's office blamed the demonstrators for the night's violence, claiming that snipers were "shooting to kill" and that dozens of police officers have been killed.

The government headquarters was evacuated on Thursday morning.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that it was vital that the dialogue between Ukraine's government and opposition should be revived and that the EU meeting will stress this message.

He also said that the EU must "speak frankly" to Russia, which has backed Yanukovyvch who has backed closer links with Moscow rather than with Brussels.

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