Statement of Minister Kohout on the violence in Ukraine
23.01.2014 / 12:16
I was personally deeply shaken by the events of the last three days in the centre of Kiev resulting in the first fatalities. I regret the loss of these young lives and wish to express my sympathy to their families.
I am shocked at the level of violence in the streets of Kiev and therefore I call upon the Ukrainian Government to refrain from the use of force, release all the detained activists, instruct the Ukrainian law enforcement authorities to direct their efforts to investigate cases of incitement of violence. Similarly, I make a plea to the Ukrainian President to reverse the laws restricting the freedoms of speech and assembly which were adopted last week and led to the escalation of street protests. I also call upon the leaders of the democratic opposition, with some of whom I met during my last visit to the country, to utilize all available avenues for dialogue to calm the situation and reduce the violence.
The Czech Republic was among the initiators of the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions issued on Monday. The Czech Republic has been a long-standing supporter of transformation process in Ukraine and its pro-democratic activists and will continue to do so in the future.