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British government issues travel warning for Ukraine

Dec. 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM

LONDON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The British government Tuesday warned its citizens who may be in Ukraine to avoid demonstrations in Kiev because of the potential for violence.

"Protests and demonstrations are occurring in Kiev and many other cities," the warning read. "You should avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests may turn violent."

Protests erupted in late November after the government suspended efforts to sign free trade and association agreements with the European Union. The Ukrainian government said the decision was made to protect its economic interests with Russia. Demonstrators last weekend tore down a statue of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in an act of protest.

Ukraine is a former Soviet republic.

The BBC reported Tuesday there were reports of injuries to police during recent clashes in Kiev. When protests erupted last month, Ukrainian police were accused of using excessive force against demonstrators.

Members of the European Parliament said they were reviewing the status of the relationship with Ukraine during their Tuesday session.

European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule said in a statement EU leaders were in contact with Ukrainian leaders and members of the opposition to discuss options for a non-violent resolution to the crisis.

"Ukraine cannot afford more tension and ever deeper division," he said.

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