European Union (EU), a 28-nation bloc on 6 March 2014 froze the assets of Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted Ukrainian leader and Mykola Azarov, the ex-premier. The assets of other 16 former ministers, businessmen and security chiefs were also frozen. The assets were frozen on grounds of fraud as the Ukrainian officials suspected the misuse of state funds and violation of human rights.
This decision was taken by the leaders of European Union during an emergency summit held in Brussels. The summit was held to discuss the crisis in Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which at present is under de-facto control of pro-Russian forces.
Earlier, the foreign ministers of EU on 20 February 2014 decided to apply sanctions to any Ukrainian officials who were deemed as responsible for violence against protesters. But the final decision was made during the emergency talks.
These 18 people were listed in the official journal of European Union and these people have been targeted as the people who are subject to criminal proceedings in Ukraine to investigate crimes in connection with the embezzlement of Ukrainian state funds and their illegal transfer outside Ukraine.
These sanctions will be in effect for an initial period of 12 months with an aim to enable Ukraine’s new authorities to recover the frozen funds. Similar moves were also announced by Austria. Swiss authorities have also ordered freeze of assets of all the 18 people including Yanukovych and Oleksandr. Liechtenstein has also frozen the bank accounts of the same officials.