KIEV, Ukraine (AP) Ukraine's new prime minister, in his first interview since taking office, told The Associated Press that Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the AP Wednesday that a special task force could be established "to consider what kind of additional autonomy the Crimean Republic could get."
The prime minister, approved by parliament on Feb. 27, denied a report that Ukraine was negotiating with the United States for deployment of U.S. missile defenses in exchange for financial help.
"This is not true," Yatsenyuk told the AP. "We have no talks with the government of the United States of America on any kind of deployment of any military forces."
Also, the European Union says it is freezing the financial assets in Europe of 18 people held responsible of misusing state funds in Ukraine.
The EU's 28 foreign ministers approved the list of names Wednesday. The identity of those targeted was withheld pending the official publication in the EU's legal journal Thursday, at which point the sanctions will be effective for the coming 12 months.
Officials say releasing the names could give those targeted a last chance to pull their assets out of the 28-nation bloc.
The ministers said the sanctions also contain provisions facilitating the recovery of the frozen funds for Ukraine's new government "once certain conditions are met."
Wednesday's move follows similar action by Switzerland and Austria last week.