EU foreign ministers have said they may use targeted sanctions against Ukraine as a last resort.
Anti-government protesters are now in their third month of street action against President Yanukovich.They accuse security forces of abductions and attacks on protesters. At least six activists have died.
At a meeting in Brussels on Monday, French and German ministers said EU governments had decided to keep the threat of sanctions in reserve in case the situation in Ukraine grew worse.
“Nobody wanted immediate and general sanctions. However, we decided to look again at targeted sanctions if ever the situation becomes worse, which is not the case now. By doing so, we want to send a clear signal, a clear message addressed to those the sanctions would target,” said French minister for European affairs, Thierry Repentin.
Ministers also called on the Ukrainian government to stop violence against demonstrators and make sure those who carry out attacks against citizens are punished.