BRUSSELS, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Europe shouldn't give up on Ukraine so long as it wants to "link up with the freedoms" seen in the European Union, the EU president said Tuesday.
Ukrainian protesters have taken to the streets of Kiev to protest a November decision by their government to suspend efforts to sign free trade and association agreements with the EU.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday members of the EU were united in their support for the sovereign right of Ukrainians to decide their own future.
"We should not give up on our commitment to those countries in our neighborhood that want to link up with the freedoms and the way of life they see in the European Union," he said in an address from Brussels.
The government in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, said the November decision was made to protect its economic ties to Russia.
Barroso said the enduring commitment of Ukrainian demonstrators is a testament to the strength of the democratic values embraced by EU members.
"We have seen Europe at its most popular: a beacon of hope and values, a guarantee of human rights and liberties," he said.
Ukrainian police were criticized by EU leaders for using force against protesters at the height of the November protests.