US condemns rising Ukraine violence

Washington, Jan 23: The US “strongly” condemned the increasing violence in the Ukrainian capital city that has left at least two protesters dead, the State Department said Wednesday.

Tensions in Ukraine were a “direct consequence” of the Ukrainian government’s failure to engage in real dialogue and the US urged all sides to immediately defuse the violence, Xinhua quoted spokeswoman Marie Harf saying in a statement.

The aggressive actions of members of extreme- right group Pravy Sektor were not acceptable, she said, adding that the actions were inflaming conditions on the streets and undermining the efforts of peaceful protestors.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has denied any involvement of riot police in the deaths, saying that demonstrators should be held responsible for the casualties.

“We urge the Government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation and beginning a national dialogue with the political opposition,” the US spokeswoman said.

The US government has revoked visas of several people it accused of being responsible for violence, and will continue to consider additional steps to deal with the tension in Ukraine, Harf said.

The White House threatened Sunday to slap sanctions on Ukraine “in response to its use of violence” against protesters.

Wednesday’s deaths were the first since demonstrations erupted in November after Ukraine backtracked on a partnership agreement with the European Union, a path toward a membership of the bloc.