US calls on Ukraine to repeal new anti-democratic laws, considers possible sanctions

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Jan. 20, 2014, 9:35 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Protesters throw the Molotov coctail during the clash with the police in downtown Kyiv on Jan 19.
© Kostyantyn Chernichkin

The U.S. National Security Council (NSC) is deeply concerned by the violence taking place on the streets of Kyiv on Sunday and urges all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation.

"We are deeply concerned by the violence taking place today on the streets of Kyiv and urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation," a statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden issued on January 19 reads.

"The increasing tension in Ukraine is a direct consequence of the government failing to acknowledge the legitimate grievances of its people. Instead, it has moved to weaken the foundations of Ukraine's democracy by criminalizing peaceful protest and stripping civil society and political opponents of key democratic protections under the law," the statement reads.

The NSC urges the government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation signed into law in recent days, withdrawing the riot police from downtown Kyiv, and beginning a dialogue with the political opposition.

"From its first days, the Maidan movement has been defined by a spirit of non-violence and we support today's call by opposition political leaders to reestablish that principle," the statement reads.

"The U.S. will continue to consider additional steps – including sanctions – in response to the use of violence," Hayden said.

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