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Senior U.S. official visits protesters and meets with Ukrainian president

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met with the Ukrainian president today to convey that the aggressive tactics used against protestors last night were "impermissible" and that there is a "way forward" through re-engagement with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

By JC Finley
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Senior U.S. official visits protesters and meets with Ukrainian president
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland visited with the Ukrainian president today to discuss the security and economic situation in Ukraine. (CC/United States Government/Department of State)

Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met with Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych today, hours after Secretary of State John Kerry issued a harshly worded statement expressing his "disgust" with the president's use of aggressive tactics against protestors late last night in Kiev.

Nuland met with the president for more than two hours today to convey that the use of security forces against protestors "is absolutely impermissible in a European state" and that the way out of the current situation can be accomplished by re-engaging with Europe and the International Monetary Fund. The full text of Nuland's statement follows:

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Hello Ukraine! It is my honor to have been here in these historic and difficult days. I hope the people of Ukraine know that the United States stands with you in your search for justice, for human dignity, for security, for economic health and for the European future that you have chosen and you deserve. I just spent more than two hours with President Yanukovych. It was a tough conversation, but it was a realistic one. I made it absolutely clear to him that what happened last night, what has been happening in security terms here, is absolutely impermissible in a European state, in a democratic state. But we also made clear that we believe there is a way out for Ukraine, that it is still possible to save Ukraine's European future and that is what we want to see the President lead. But that is going to require immediate security steps and getting back into a conversation with Europe and with the International Monetary Fund, and bringing justice and dignity to the people of Ukraine. I have no doubt after our meeting that President Yanukovych knows what he needs to do. The whole world is watching. We want to see a better future for Ukraine. Thank you all. I am going home to report to my government.

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Before her meeting with the president, Nuland accompanied U.S. Ambassador Geoff Pyatt to distribute food to security forces and protestors in Independence Square. The Ambassador re-tweeted a photo of their visit.

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Demonstrations in Kiev began after President Yanukovich announced on November 21 that Ukraine would not sign a trade deal with the EU, a move that was seen as bowing to pressure from Russia and thwarting Ukraine's attempts to advance its economy. Vice President Biden telephoned the Ukrainian president on Monday to communicate his "deep concern" about the potential for violence in the Ukraine.

[UPI] [U.S. Department of State] [CNN]

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