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London has 'extreme' concerns about Ukrainian unrest

  |   Feb. 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM
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LONDON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- British Minister for Europe David Lidington said Thursday he summoned the Ukrainian envoy to express his "extreme concern" over political violence in Kiev.

A statement from Lidington's office said Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Volodymyr Khandogiy was summoned following a breakdown in a brief calm to the political violence in Ukraine.

"The minister expressed extreme concern over the reports of further violence and deaths, and made clear that action against peaceful protesters on Independence Square is unacceptable," Lidington's office said Thursday.

The United Nations said more than two dozen people have died as a result of violence pitting demonstrators against Ukrainian police.

Protests erupted in November when Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, decided to back away from the European Union in order to protect its economic ties to Russia.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Thursday the situation is "very difficult and remains extremely volatile."

Barroso said he was reminding Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych that Ukrainian authorities have a "special responsibility" to ensure protests are peaceful.

"An immediate end to the violence and a meaningful dialogue, responding to democratic aspirations of the people of Ukraine is the only way to solve the political and institutional crisis," he said.

Demonstrators are calling on Yanukovych to step down. Mykola Azarov resigned last month as prime minister in an effort to quiet the situation.

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