“Deaths have been reported in connection with the demonstrations in Ukraine. Developments in the country are alarming. I urge both sides to refrain from violence at once and to enter into talks to avoid more bloodshed. The leaders of Ukraine have a particular responsibility for preventing the country from descending into an unpredictable spiral of violence,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
After many weeks of basically peaceful protests in the wake of President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision not to sign an association agreement with the EU in November, in recent days the demonstrations have spilled over into violence. The unrest escalated after the Ukrainian parliament passed several controversial laws on 16 January that restrict basic human rights. These laws were passed in violation of the parliament’s own procedures.
“It it crucial that the authorities enter into genuine dialogue with the opposition at once to seek a way out of this crisis. The new laws that were passed last week, without any discussion and in violation of parliamentary procedure, are cause for concern. Ukraine must fulfil its international obligations. I urge the Ukranian authorities to immediately reverse these laws. They tarnish Ukraine’s international reputation and lead the country down a dangerous path, away from democracy and freedom of expression,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.