Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

Europe

US backs ‘European aspirations’ in Ukraine, Kerry says

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-02

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday told Ukraine’s opposition that he backs the “European aspirations” of Ukrainians as their country confronts one of its worst political crisis in years, deeply split over whether to look East or West.

Ukraine’s crisis began in November when President Viktor Yanukovich backed away from a trade deal with the European Union to strike an agreement with its old master, Russia. Protests quickly came to encompass a wide array of discontent over corruption, heavy-handed police and other grievances.

Kerry met with Ukrainian opposition leaders, including former world boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, after a security conference in Munich. During the meeting, Kerry affirmed US support for “the democratic, European aspirations” of Ukrainians and the leaders’ efforts “to speak out to defend democracy and choice,” the State Department said.

He also urged the opposition to keep up talks with the government.

The department added that Kerry told Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Leonid Kozhara, to release political prisoners, address the deteriorating human rights situation, safeguard democratic principles and form a “technical government” that can address the country’s economic problems and European aspirations of its citizens.

Earlier in the day, Kerry had told the Munich Security Conference that Ukraine should be free to align with Europe if it wants and not feel coerced by more powerful neighbours such as Russia.

Protesters are “fighting for the right to associate with partners who will help them realise their aspirations — and they have decided that means their futures do not have to lie with one country alone — and certainly not coerced”, he said, adding the US and EU “stand with the people of Ukraine in that fight”.

Kerry did not directly criticise Russia, which has accused the West of fanning the flames of unrest in Ukraine. But he said “Russia and other countries” should not view the European integration of their neighbors as a process that hurts them.

“In fact, the lesson of the last half-century is that we can accomplish much more when the United States, Russia, and Europe work together. But make no mistake: We will continue to speak out when our interests or values are undercut by any country in the region,” Kerry said.

Kerry cast his remarks about Ukraine in the broader context of a “disturbing trend” toward despotism among governments in central and eastern Europe.

Addressing the conference before Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slammed Western support for Ukraine’s opposition, suggesting it was leading to the escalation of violence.

“Why don’t we hear condemnations of those who seize and hold government buildings, burn, torch the police, use racist and anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans?” Lavrov asked.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)
 

Date created : 2014-02-01

  • DIPLOMACY

    EU and US lock horns with Russia over Ukraine

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    Ukrainian opposition leaders to meet with Kerry

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    Abducted Ukrainian activist says captors ‘crucified’ him

    Read more

COMMENT(S)