15:28 06.03.2015

Four of Yanukovych's inner circle removed from sanction list

The European Union scaled back its sanctions on former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's inner circle on Friday, removing four people from its list of targets due to a lack of evidence.

Among the four people removed from the list was Oleksiy Azarov, the son of Ukraine's former prime minister Mykola Azarov. However Azarov senior remains on the sanction list, the EU Council said in an official journal on Friday.

Andriy Portnov, a former senior adviser to Yanukovych, Oleksandr Yakymenko and Ihor Kalinin, the former chiefs of the Ukrainian security service have also been removed from the list.

The EU has extended sanctions on some officials for three months (until June 6, 2015) to give Ukrainian authorities more time to find evidence against them. Those covered by the extension include Yanukovych's youngest son Viktor; Ukraine's former justice minister Olena Lukash; the businessmen Serhiy and Andriy Kliuyev, the latter of which was Yanukovych's last chief of staff, and former education minister Dmytro Tabachnyk.

Meanwhile, 14 people continue to have their assets frozen by the EU, including Yanukovych. Their accounts will remain frozen for 12 months (until March 6, 2016).

This list includes Yanukovych's eldest son Oleksandr, former interior minister of Ukraine Vitaliy Zakharchenko, former prosecutor general of Ukraine Viktor Pshonka, former National Bank governor Serhiy Arbuzov, former income and tax minister Oleksandr Klymenko, former MP Yuriy Ivaniuschenko and former energy minister of Ukraine Eduard Stavytsky.

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