Ashton in Kiev to push political momentum forward

Feb. 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says Ukraine's next government needs to be inclusive and free from outside interference.

Ashton arrived Tuesday in Kiev for her fourth visit to the country in three months. Her visit follows the impeachment of President Viktor Yanukovych and calls from interim leaders to put him on trial for crimes committed during the recent uprising.

"We expect to see a new government soon," Ashton said.

Violence erupted in Ukraine in November when the Yanukovych administration stepped away from the European Union to protect its economic ties to Russia. Ashton said a new round of elections is set for the end of May and her delegation was there to offer support "not interference."

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday he had doubts about post-Yanukovych political developments in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.

Ashton said she spoke about Ukrainian developments with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying the strong ties between Ukraine and the Russian government must be maintained.

"We have confirmed our principled position to not interfere in Ukraine's internal affairs and expect all [foreign powers] to follow a similar logic," Lavrov was quoted as saying Tuesday by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

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