Washington, DC – February 20, 2014
It’s with anger and anguish that we have watched renewed violence on the streets of Kyiv today destroy more lives and rip apart more families. The people of Ukraine deserve far better than senseless death and suffering on the streets of one of Europe’s great cities.
The violence must stop. We unequivocally condemn the use of force against civilians by security forces, and urge that those forces be withdrawn immediately. The people of Ukraine and the international community will hold to account those who are responsible for what has occurred, and the United States has already begun implementing sanctions through travel bans on Ukrainians responsible for the violence.
Protestors should exercise their rights peacefully, and we urge the Ukrainian military to remain true to its non-political heritage and its professional traditions.
There is no time for brinksmanship or gamesmanship. President Yanukovich must undertake serious negotiations with opposition leaders immediately to establish a new interim government that will have broad support. That is the only way to begin the difficult but essential constitutional and economic reforms that Ukraine needs.
We reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the people of Ukraine and urge all members of the international community to help Ukraine return to stability. We will work with our friends and allies to support Ukraine and Ukrainians in these difficult days.