BRUSSELS (AP) — One of the European Union's highest courts has annulled an asset freeze against seven former leading Ukraine officials accused of siphoning off state funds for their own gain.

The General Court in Luxembourg on Thursday sided with former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych and six others in its ruling.

The ruling marks a defeat for EU nations that imposed the measure five years ago over what they considered to be the seven individuals' suppression of protest and endemic corruption in the country.

The court, which ruled on the original decision and subsequent renewals until last year, said issues related to the rights of the defense and the right to effective judicial protection for its decision to strike down the measures.

The ruling can still be appealed but on legal points only.

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