UPDATE 1-Britain to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainians after EU deal

Wed Mar 5, 2014 2:21pm EST

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LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - Britain's finance ministry said on Wednesday it would join other European Union countries in freezing the assets of 18 Ukrainians suspected of misappropriating state funds, in line with an agreement reached by the EU earlier in the day.

European Union governments confirmed on Wednesday that they would freeze the assets of 18 Ukrainians, at Kiev's request, after Ukraine's new rulers said billions in public funds had gone missing.

"We are freezing assets across the EU on 18 Ukrainians suspected of misappropriating Ukrainian state funds," finance minister George Osborne said in a statement on Twitter.

Last week Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein said they were taking similar steps against 18 Ukrainians. It was not clear whether the same 18 people would be affected by the move, with further details expected to be announced by Brussels on Thursday.

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