BRUSSELS: The deadly clashes in Ukraine’s capital have drawn sharp reactions from Washington, sparked a rapidly growing push for European Union sanctions and led to a Kremlin statement blaming Europe and the West.
Following is a roundup of some of the international reactions:
The UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, called Wednesday for “an urgent and independent investigation to establish facts and responsibilities, including the possible use of excessive force, and to ensure accountability for these deadly clashes.”
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday expressed “shock and utter dismay” at the violence in Kiev, blamed Ukraine’s “political leadership” and predicted the 28-nation EU will impose sanctions as a result.
Vice President Joe Biden called Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych to express “grave concern” and to request the pullback of government forces and the exercise of maximum restraint.
The Russian Foreign Ministry blamed the West for the escalation of violence and called on the Ukrainian opposition to work with the government to find an exit from the crisis. It said the West had fueled the violence by failing to clearly condemn the radicals who attacked police.
Germany’s leaders had refused to back Washington’s calls for sanctions against Ukraine’s government to pressure it into accepting opposition demands for reforms. But after violence in Kiev exploded on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said “Europe’s previous reluctance for personal sanctions must be rethought.”
President Francois Hollande expressed “deep indignation” at the violence in Ukraine during a meeting of the French Cabinet on Wednesday, government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said. “Everything must be done to stop the violence in Ukraine.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a Twitter post on Wednesday: “We must be clear: Ultimate responsibility for deaths and violence is with President Yanukovych. He has blood on his hands.”
Pope Francis issued a special appeal for peace in Ukraine at the end of his general audience on Wednesday, speaking to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square. “With a troubled soul I am following what is happening these days in Kiev,” he said.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk told his country’s Parliament Wednesday that the time has come to impose sanctions on Ukraine.
“The Ukrainian government must take responsibility to immediately enter a serious dialogue with the opposition on the need for constitutional amendments, a new broad-based government and the preparation of democratic and fair presidential elections,” Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said.