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Published: Friday February 28, 2014 MYT 6:25:02 PM
Updated: Friday February 28, 2014 MYT 6:25:59 PM

Austria freezes assets of 18 Ukrainians - foreign ministry

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria has frozen the local bank accounts of 18 Ukrainians suspected of potential human rights abuses in the country's political upheaval or of corruption, its foreign ministry said on Friday.

"With this national decision the federal government is responding to a concrete request from the new Ukrainian government," Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said in a statement to the Austria Press Agency. A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the decision to Reuters.

The step was a precautionary measure while the European Union discusses potential sanctions, Kurz added. The statement did not identify the people involved or say how much money had been seized.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, Derek Brooks and Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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