News / Europe

US, Europe Condemn Violence in Ukraine, Consider Sanctions

US, Europe Condemn Violence in Ukraine, Consider Sanctionsi
X
February 20, 2014 12:24 PM
Witnesses in the Ukrainian capital say at least 17 people have been killed in fresh clashes that erupted between anti-government protesters and police, hours after President Viktor Yanukovych announced a truce with opposition leaders. Zlatica Hoke reports
Zlatica Hoke
The United States and the European Union are considering sanctions against senior government officials in Ukraine in response to Tuesday's bloodshed in the capital.  At least 26 people were killed in clashes between the protesters and police forces sent to dismantle their camps from central Kyiv. 

Many accuse the government of excessive use of force as word comes of a truce between the government and leaders of the opposition.

Images of deadly clashes and Kyiv engulfed in flames Tuesday night shocked the world.  The two sides blame each other for the escalation of violence that caused death and destruction; but, U.S. President Barack Obama and many Western European leaders have made it clear that they hold the Ukrainian government responsible.

"Along with our European partners, we will continue to engage all sides.  And we continue to stress to [Ukrainian] President [Viktor] Yanukovych and the Ukrainian govenment that they have the primary responsibility to prevent the kind of terrible violence that we've seen, to withdraw riot police, to work with the opposition to restore security and human dignity and move the country forward," said President Obama.

German and French leaders condemned the violence at a joint news conference in Paris Wednesday, hours before word came of a truce between Ukrainian's government and opposition.

EU foreign ministers have scheduled an emergency meeting for Thursday in Brussels to address Ukraine's situation and discuss sanctions.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso conveyed a message to Ukraine's leaders.

"We believe the political leadership of the country has the responsibility to ensure the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms," said Barroso.

The French, German and Polish foreign ministers are meeting with members of the Ukrainian government and the opposition Thursday for talks on the unrest.  

Hundreds of people have been injured, some of them brutally beaten.  Among them, U.S. citizen George Sajewych, former VOA producer, who traveled to Ukraine to participate in the protests.

"I just got clubbed all over; on the head, broke my arm in two places.  Finally I fell on the ground, and the rule, is you can't hit a guy on the ground, you're not supposed to, it's against the rule of something or other, maybe even the United Nations," said Sajewych.

United Nations human rights official Ivan Simonovic called the situation in Ukraine extremely disturbing.

"It’s our firm position, that because of possible excessive use of force, there must be credible, impartial and international investigations," said Simonovic.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych dismissed the head of the armed forces, Volodymyr Zamana, a day after deadly confrontations turned the capital into a battle zone.

The protests started relatively peacefully after President Yanukovych last November refused to sign a political and economic deal with the European Union, saying the bloc did not offer enough assistance to cash-strapped Ukraine.  In December, he reached a $15 billion loan deal with Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine's opposition for the Tuesday violence, calling it an attempt by extremists to overthrow the government.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs