Ukraine gives assurances to EU following protests

Dec. 2, 2013 at 1:13 PM
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BRUSSELS, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The European Commission said Monday it received assurances from Ukrainian President Yanukovych he would work to restore order to the country.

The European Commission said Monday the Ukrainian president spoke by phone with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The commission said in a statement Yanukovych vowed to investigate the allegations of excessive force and to call on all parties to show restraint.

Protests erupted in Kiev last month when Ukrainian lawmakers decided to suspend efforts to move closer to the European Union.

Catherine Ashton, the top foreign policy official in the European Union, and Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fule expressed outrage over the excessive use of force by police in Kiev last weekend.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported "hundreds of thousands" of people turned out to protest last weekend. Demonstrators in Kiev called on the government to resign. At least 190 protesters and 140 policemen were injured during the unrest.

The statement Monday from the European Commission said the Ukrainian president agreed with Europe about the need to settle the issue peacefully.

The commission said it was still open to reviewing the prospects of an association agreement and comprehensive free trade agreement with Ukraine.

Ukrainian leaders said last week there were concerned about the toll an EU agreement would have on its relationship with Russia. Ukraine is a former Soviet republic.

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