Excerpt from Restricted Bilateral Meeting, Mexico:
The United States condemns in strongest terms the violence that’s taking place there. And we have been deeply engaged with our European partners as well as both the Ukrainian government and the opposition to try to assure that that violence ends.
But we hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way; that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression.
And I want to be very clear that as we work through these next several days in Ukraine that we are going to be watching very carefully and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters. We’ve said that we also expect peaceful protesters to remain peaceful. And we’ll be monitoring very carefully the situation, recognizing, along with our European partners and the international community, there will be consequences if people step over the line. And that includes making sure that the Ukrainian military does not step into what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians.
So the United States will continue to engage with all sides in the dispute in Ukraine, and ultimately our interest is to make sure that the Ukrainian people can express their own desires. And we believe that a large majority of Ukrainians are interested in an integration with Europe, and the commerce and cultural exchanges that are possible for them to expand opportunity and prosperity.
But regardless of how the Ukrainian people determine their own future, it is important that it is the people themselves that make those decisions. And that’s what the United States will continue to strive to achieve.
And I do think there is still the possibility of a peaceful transition within Ukraine, but it’s going to require the government, in particular, to actively seek that peaceful transition, and it requires the opposition and those on the streets to recognize that violence is not going to be the path by which this issue will be resolved.
Thank you very much.