Ukraine violence troubles European energy body

Feb. 20, 2014 at 8:02 AM

VIENNA, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The European Energy Community said it was lending its hand to Ukraine to help resolve the country's political crisis in a peaceful way.

The Energy Community, bound by a 2006 treaty to look for a common regulatory energy framework, said energy policy is a "crucial" element of economic and social stability in the region.

Janez Kopac, director of the community, said one of the body's core principles is ensuring peace on the European continent.

"In that, the Energy Community secretariat offers its unlimited support to resolve the present conflict in Ukraine in a peaceful manner," he said in a statement Wednesday.

Protesters in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, expressed frustration in November when the government suspended efforts to sign free trade and association agreements with the European Union in order to protect its economic ties with Russia.

More than two dozen people have been killed in clashes between protesters and police in recent days, the United Nations said.

The European Union relies on Russia for about a quarter of its natural gas supplies and most of that runs through a Soviet-era pipeline network in Ukraine.

Ukraine holds the rotating presidency of the Energy Community.

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