The White House said Thursday that it is “outraged” by images and reports coming out of Ukraine, where at least 35 people have died after a “truce” broke down between protesters and the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
“We are outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
Reports have emerged from Ukraine detailing the use of rifles and snipers by Ukrainian security forces.
“We urge President Yanukovych to immediately withdraw his security forces from downtown Kyiv and to respect the right of peaceful protest, and we urge protesters to express themselves peacefully,” Carney said. “We urge the Ukrainian military not to get involved in a conflict that can and should be resolved by political means.
“The use of force will not resolve the crisis — clear steps must be taken to stop the violence and initiate meaningful dialogue that reduces tension and addresses the grievances of the Ukrainian people. The United States will work with our European allies to hold those responsible for violence accountable and to help the Ukrainian people get a unified and independent Ukraine back on the path to a better future.”
President Barack Obama warned Wednesday that there will be “consequences” if people “step over the line” in the escalating conflict. On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry raised the prospect of possible sanctions on Ukraine.
“Going forward, we’ll continue to do whatever we can to support Ukrainians as they seek a peaceful resolution and respond to the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for a strong, unified democracy that’s fully integrated into the international community,” Obama said Wednesday night at a press conference in Mexico, where he was meeting with the leaders of Mexico and Canada.
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