WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) today joined with his fellow Co-Chairs of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), in issuing the following statement regarding recent violence in Kyiv and the passage of anti-democratic legislation:
“We are gravely alarmed by reports of at least three deaths and scores of injuries during recent clashes in Kyiv. We continue to condemn the use of violence by government authorities as well as by fringe extremist groups and provocateurs, both of which are attempting to discredit the peaceful protest movement. We were also similarly alarmed by the Verkhovna Rada’s rushed passage of draconian anti-democratic legislation—an action that directly precipitated the increased instability of recent days.
“Since the beginning of the crisis, President Yanukovych has repeatedly stated a preference for a peaceful solution that creates the conditions for a fully democratic Ukraine; however, the actions of the Government of Ukraine have consistently undermined that goal. Now is the time for all sides to reject violence and instead engage in a full and representative national dialogue to realize that solution. Specifically, we call on the Government of Ukraine to immediately cease the use of violence; repeal the recently-passed anti-democratic legislation; recognize the human rights of peaceful protestors and independent media; and participate in a true dialogue with the opposition.
“We applaud the State Department’s recent step to revoke the visas of several individuals responsible for violence and—should the Government of Ukraine continue down the road of repression—urge the Obama Administration to use its existing legal authorities to continue to impose sanctions against appropriate individuals.”