Ukraine 'losing' credibility after crackdown
VILNIUS, Lithuania – European Union (EU) chair Lithuania said Wednesday, December 11, that the Ukraine authorities had lost credibility after security forces clashed with protestors in the capital Kiev, ignoring calls from the West for restraint.
Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said the crackdown on protestors showed "the conscious choice that the Ukrainian authorities appear to have taken against the European path."
"The Ukrainian authorities have over a short period of time, especially over this night, lost a lot of credibility," Linkevicius said.
He was backed by Lithuania's president Dalia Grybauskaite who said in a statement to Agence France-Presse that any use of force "against peaceful protestors in Kiev is unjustifiable".
"It is a direct responsibility of Ukraine political leadership," she said.
The blunt statements from Lithuania, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, came after elite forces moved against the protestors who had occupied Kiev's Independence Square for a over a week.
The security forces tore down barricades that the protestors, angry at President Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of an EU pact, had placed around Independence Square.
However, these attempts to reclaim the square were later abandoned by the security forces.
The clashes came as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland were in Kiev for talks with all parties to find a way out of the crisis.
"The authorities have shown publicly that they ignore the calls of the EU and US representatives, now visiting Kiev, not to take any further steps which would aggravate the situation," Linkevicius said.
The Lithuanian minister said he was "impressed by the peaceful expression and strong spirit that we have seen in the Independence Square." – Rappler.com