The White House expressed renewed disgust Thursday about more deaths of protesters in Ukraine and called on the government to back off from confrontations in the capital city.
“We are outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people,” the White House said in a statement. “We urge President [Viktor] Yanukovych to immediately withdraw his security forces from downtown Kyiv and to respect the right of peaceful protest, and we urge protesters to express themselves peacefully.”
Mr. Yanukovych had announced a truce Wednesday night, but it didn’t hold as violence erupted for the second time this week, with at least 22 more people being killed overnight. Mr. Obama has threatened sanctions along with U.S. allies.
The White House said the use of force by the Ukrainian military “will not resolve the crisis.”
“Clear steps must be taken to stop the violence and initiate meaningful dialogue that reduces tension and addresses the grievances of the Ukrainian people,” the White House said. “The United States will work with our European allies to hold those responsible for violence accountable and to help the Ukrainian people get a unified and independent Ukraine back on the path to a better future.”