The United States and the European Union “stand with the people of Ukraine” in their fight for the right to choose alliances with countries other than Russia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.
His comments come after a week of political tumult in which Ukraine’s Prime Minister and Cabinet have resigned, a controversial anti-protest law has been repealed and the President has signed off on a contested amnesty bill for anti-government protesters.
“Nowhere is the fight for a democratic, European future more important today than in Ukraine,” said Kerry, speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
“While there are unsavory elements in any chaotic situation, the vast majority of Ukrainians want to live freely in a safe, prosperous country. They are fighting for the right to associate with partners who will help them realize their aspirations — and they have decided that means their futures do not have to lie with one country alone.
“The United States and EU stand with the people of Ukraine in that fight.”
The protesters have been in Kiev’s Independence Square, or Maidan, since November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign a long-awaited trade deal with the European Union and turned instead toward Russia.
SOURCE: Laura Smith-Spark and Nic Robertson