The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

US, Europe condemn Ukraine violence, threaten sanctions, while Moscow blames West

  • Print

BRUSSELS - Following the deadly clashes in Ukraine's capital, the Obama administration and European governments are talking about imposing punitive sanctions, the Kremlin has blamed the West for stirring up trouble and the pope has issued a special appeal for peace. A roundup of Wednesday's international reactions:

EUROPEAN UNION

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso expressed "shock and utter dismay" at the violence that erupted Tuesday in Kyiv, blaming Ukraine's political leadership and predicting the 28-nation EU will impose sanctions as a result.

"We therefore expect that targeted measures against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force can be agreed by our member states as a matter of urgency," Barroso said in a statement.

EU foreign ministers were summoned to an emergency meeting in Brussels on Thursday to decide on the bloc's course of action. Barroso's office said he also phoned Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to warn that the EU will "react firmly to the deterioration of the situation."

RUSSIA

The Russian Foreign Ministry blamed the West for the escalation of violence and called on the Ukrainian opposition to work with the government to find an exit from the crisis. It said the West has fueled the violence by failing to clearly condemn the radicals who attacked police.

"What's going on is the direct result of the policy of connivance on behalf of Western politicians and European structures, which from the very start of the crisis have turned a blind eye to the aggressive actions of radical forces in Ukraine, encouraging them to engage in escalation and provocations against the legitimate government," it said.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Russia views the developments in Ukraine as a "coup attempt." He denied Putin was giving Yanukovych any advice on how to handle the crisis, and said it is up to the Ukrainian government to determine the course of action to defuse the crisis.

UNITED STATES

President Barack Obama urged Ukraine to avoid violence against peaceful protesters or face consequences, as the United States considered joining European partners to impose sanctions aimed at ending the deadly street clashes.

"There will be consequences if people step over the line," Obama said Wednesday shortly after landing in Mexico for a summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. "And that includes making sure that the Ukrainian military does not step into what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians."

Secretary of State John Kerry, in Paris for meetings with the French foreign minister and other officials, said he was disturbed by the level of abuse demonstrated by the Ukrainian government and protesters.

"We are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps in order to create the atmosphere for compromise," Kerry said. He said the situation is bad but that there's room for dialogue and that it's up Yanukovych to decide the future of his country

GERMANY and FRANCE

At a joint news conference in Paris, French President Francois Hollande vowed that those who started the deadly violence in Ukraine "will be sanctioned," while German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the need for dialogue "because only political dialogue can really bring political progress"

Hollande said the sanctions to be considered by EU foreign ministers must be "targeted, specific and gradual to weigh on the process" of ending violence. They must be aimed at those who started the "intolerable acts," he said, adding that identifying those responsible takes time, raising the question of whether immediate EU measures are feasible.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters that he and his counterparts from Germany and Poland would travel to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian government officials and opposition leaders before the EU meeting Thursday. Poland's foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, posted on Twitter that he was already en route for Ukraine's capital.

SWEDEN

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a Twitter post on Wednesday: "We must be clear: Ultimate responsibility for deaths and violence is with President Yanukovych. He has blood on his hands."

VATICAN CITY

Pope Francis issued an appeal for peace in Ukraine at the end of his general audience on Wednesday, speaking to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square. "With a troubled soul, I am following what is happening these days in Kyiv," he said. "I assure my closeness to the Ukrainian people and pray for the victims of the violence, for their relatives and for the injured. I invite all sides to stop any violent action and to look for harmony and peace in the country."

ITALY

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino joined European colleagues in a renewed appeal to Ukrainian authorities for the end of "violent, indiscriminate and disproportional reactions to people's protests, which must be carried out peacefully, within the confines of legality." If violence continues, he said, "we don't exclude the recourse to exceptional restrictive measures."

CZECH REPUBLIC

The government said it was in favour of EU sanctions against Kyiv. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Ukraine's president should be one of those targeted.

"Mr. Yanukovych is a key government representative of Ukraine," Sobotka said.

ROMANIA

Romanian President Traian Basescu warned the protests in Ukraine could spread instability throughout the region, particularly in neighbouring Moldova.

"I want you to understand that the destabilization of Ukraine is not serious just for Romania, but the whole of Europe will be affected," Basescu said, adding that he had passed on his concerns to U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and Barroso, the EU commission president.

Basescu also said Romania would be willing to take in refugees from the crisis.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Members of the parliament, based in Strasbourg, France, adopted a non-binding resolution urging EU member nations to prepare sanctions such as freezing assets of "Ukrainian officials, legislators and oligarchs personally responsible for the attacks on and deaths of protesters."

CANADA

Canada closed its embassy in Kyiv after protesters entered the building on Tuesday amid the violent crackdown outside.

Adam Hodge, a spokesman for Canada's foreign affairs minister, said Wednesday the embassy would be closed until further notice as a security precaution, and to ensure the protection of staff. Canada has also threatened sanctions.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Red River flooding north of Selkik at McIvor Lane

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the suspensions levied against three bantam hockey players for abusing game officials?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google