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EU foreign policy chief meets Ukrainian president

February 05, 2014, 18:42 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

Catherine Ashton arrived in Kiev on Tuesday, February 4, on a two-day visit

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© ITAR-TASS/Andrei Mosiyenko

BRUSSELS, February 05. /ITAR-TASS/. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton is meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.

Ashton arrived in Kiev on Tuesday, February 4, on a two-day visit. She had visited Ukraine prior to that on January 29 and held a series of bilateral meetings with opposition leaders and government officials, including the president.

After her previous visit, Ashton urged the Ukrainian sides to stop violence and start a real dialogue. She said she had noted that both sides want to look for solutions.

Later Ashton met with members of the Ukrainian opposition at the Munich Security Conference to have “an in-depth discussion about the situation in Ukraine.”

She said she was “deeply alarmed” by violence and cases of intimidation and torture and “particularly appalled” by the “cruel treatment and torture” of one of the opposition leaders Dmitry Bulatov and by reports that there were attempts to arrest him from his hospital bed. “This is completely unacceptable and needs to stop immediately,” she said.

“The situation in Ukraine is deeply worrying and I will be returning to Kiev next week, on behalf of the European Union,” Ashton said.

Stefan Fule visits Ukraine

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, who also visited Ukraine in late January on behalf of High Representative Ashton and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, urged its authorities and the opposition to stop violence and continue the dialogue.

During the visit, he “conveyed deep concerns of the EU about the latest developments and underlined the need to end the cycle of violence, to fight against impunity of human rights violators and to continue an inclusive national dialogue to find a way out of the crisis that threatens to further destabilize the country.”

Fule held talks with President Viktor Yanukovich, leaders of the opposition Arseny Yatsenyuk from Batkivshchina (Fatherland), Vitali Klitschko from the party UDAR and Oleg Tyagnibok from Svoboda (Freedom) as well as with representatives of the civil society. He also visited Kiev’s Independence Square known as the Maidan [Nezalezhnosti] square and talked to people there.

“Talks in Kiev showed the need for a series of concrete steps to start winning back the trust of people by stopping the spiral of violence and intimidation, to be complemented in a second stage by an inclusive political process leading the stability in Ukraine,” Fule said.

He discussed a series of steps that could lead to confidence building and to a political process aimed at ending the crisis. “I stressed to my Ukrainian partners that the EU would remain engaged in the process assisting them in de-escalating the situation and finding a way out of the crisis, as demonstrated by the scheduled visit of High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton to Kiev next week,” the commissioner said.

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