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European ministers in Kiev for key talks

Talks between the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland and the Ukrainian president will go ahead on Thursday despite security risks. France says the EU is preparing to impose sanctions on Kiev over the use of violence. Stay with us for regular updates.

European ministers in Kiev for key talks
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the EU is preparing sanctions against Ukraine on Thursday. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP

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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday that the European Union was preparing to impose targeted sanctions against those behind Ukraine's violence.

His words come as the violence continued in Kiev and reportedly left at least ten people dead in Independence Square overnight.

Speaking to Europe 1 radio from Ukraine before meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych, Fabius said he would present plans for sanctions against certain officials, including visa bans and the freezing of assets.

"We need to hit people in the pocketbooks in these cases," said Fabius, who was joined in Ukraine for the talks by his German and Polish counterparts, ahead of a meeting of all EU foreign ministers later Thursday.

"I will tell him (Yanukovych) that he must stop the violence, which is obviously unacceptable, and that we are preparing this afternoon to take sanctions against those responsible for the violence," Fabius said.

He expressed doubts over the willingness of Ukraine's government to compromise.

"There is an enormous amount of work to do but we are confronted with the obvious unwillingness of the authorities, who for now are not budging."

In a separate interview with France's BFMTV, Fabius said his goal was to move Ukrainian authorities toward holding elections

"There is no other solution but to move toward elections, the people must be turned to," he said.

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UKRAINE

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.

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