Kiev under eye of European Court of Human Rights

Feb. 21, 2014 at 9:52 AM
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STRASBOURG, France, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian government is called on to submit observations into protesters' claims regarding the use of force, the European Court of Human Rights said Friday.

Ukraine has been coping with violent protests since its November decision to move away from trade and economic association with the European Union in order to protect its economic ties to Russia.

The European Court of Human Rights said Friday it was vetting a complaint made by protester Yuriy Derevyanko regarding the use of police force. The court said he complained police in Kiev used live ammunition, explosives and water cannon in an effort to disperse protesters.

Those actions, the court said, resulted in deaths and serious injuries to "a large number of protesters." The court said in a statement Friday the government is called on to "submit its observations" into the claims.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, a spokesman for the Defense Department, said U.S. officials in Kiev were informed armed forces in Ukraine were deployed to protect military facilities and "are not involved in the violence against protesters."

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, said Friday he welcomed an agreement reached between the Ukrainian government and the opposition to end the violence.

"It is now the responsibility of all parties to be courageous and turn words into deeds for the sake of Ukraine's future," he said in a statement.

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