Obama warns Ukraine of 'consequences' if violence continues

Published February 20, 2014
US President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (not in frame) at the Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico in Toluca, Mexico, on February 19, 2014. – AFP Photo
US President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (not in frame) at the Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico in Toluca, Mexico, on February 19, 2014. – AFP Photo

TOLUCA: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday warned of “consequences” over the violence in Ukraine and said the United States held the government responsible for ensuring that its people can protest “without fear of repression.”

At least 26 people, including 10 policemen, were killed in Kiev Tuesday after riot police entered Independence Square and battled government protesters who have occupied the square since November.

The crisis erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich spurned a broad trade deal with the European Union and accepted a $15 billion Russian bailout.

The United States has said the Ukrainian government must pull back riot police from Independence Square in Kiev, call a truce and hold discussions with the opposition.

Obama, who is in Mexico for a summit with Canadian and Mexican leaders, condemned the Ukrainian violence and said the United States is working with European nations as well as the Ukrainian government and the opposition.

“We hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way, that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression,” Obama said during a visit to Mexico.

“I want to be very clear as we work through these next several days in Ukraine that we're going to be watching closely and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters,” he said.

Obama added that the United States also expects protesters to remain peaceful in the wake of violence in Kiev that left at least 26 people dead.

“We'll be monitoring very closely the situation, recognising that with our European partners and the international community, there will be consequences if people step over the line,” the US leader said.

“And that includes making sure the Ukrainian military does not step into what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians.”

Earlier today, Ukrainian President Yanukovych replaced the head of the army's general staff after announcing a new “anti-terror” operation in response to the country's deadliest violence since its post-Soviet independence.

The crackdown on anti-government protests by security forces on Tuesday triggered a storm of international condemnation, with the European Union convening urgent talks to mull possible sanctions.

Opinion

Poisoning minds
23 Jan 2021

Poisoning minds

ICS cadets were raised on James Mill’s notorious work.
The fog of Broadsheet
23 Jan 2021

The fog of Broadsheet

How can the government pump credibility into an official probe when it has already declared its own political verdict?
Cheating on online exams
23 Jan 2021

Cheating on online exams

The difficulty of preventing online cheating and low ethical standards means that these days most students cheat.
Language mess
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Language mess

Our policy confuses the medium-of-instruction debate with the language-acquisition debate.

Editorial

23 Jan 2021

Power price hike

ALREADY struggling to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising food prices, consumers received yet...
Updated 23 Jan 2021

Israeli land grab

WITH the chapter now closed on the Trump presidency, the eyes of many in the international community — ...
23 Jan 2021

New PhD policy

EARLIER in the week, the HEC chairman announced several changes for undergraduate and PhD degrees in the country....
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Time to heal

A multitude of foreign issues will test Biden’s mettle and require progressive thinking.
22 Jan 2021

Foreign funding

AS the pressure builds on his party in the foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for an ...
22 Jan 2021

Decaying PTV

THE Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises has decided to remove Pakistan Television from the list of...