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Ukrainians: German sanction threat 'too slow'

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Ukrainians: German sanction threat 'too slow'
Protesters man barricades on Maidan square on Friday. Photo: DPA
15:35 CET+01:00
Friday's agreement between rulers and opposition brought a glimmer of hope to the violence in Kiev. But Ukrainians in Germany have accused the German government of hesitating too long in the crisis.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and three opposition leaders tentatively agreed EU-brokered measures on Thursday aimed at putting an end to the political crisis and violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters.

Leaders of both sides agreed to hold early presidential elections by the end of the year form a national unity government within days and take immediate action to reform the constitution.

The move comes in a bid to end the violence on the streets, in which 77 people died in Kiev on Thursday alone - the bloodiest day of the conflict so far.

Meanwhile, Ukrainains in Germany complained that Berlin had hesitated too long before threatening sanctions against Yanukovitch.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government should have ramped up the pressure on Yanukovitch long ago, said head of the group.

"The threat of introducing sanctions was too long coming," said head of the organisation Roman Rokytskyy, who lives in Bad Homburg in the central German state of Hesse.

If the German government had made a clear threat months ago, it might have been able to prevent some of the carnage of the past weeks, said Rokytskyy.  

The Ukrainian umbrella group, which is one of two in Germany, represents just a section of the Ukrainian population there.

Back in December Rokytskyy submitted an appeal to Merkel's government demanding to meet the "inhumane behaviour of the Ukrainian leadership" with sanctions.

Since then, he said he and his countrymen had been looking on in horror and rage "with tears in their eyes."

"It's like an abattoir," he added.

READ MORE: German pastor in Kiev: We feel hopeless

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