WASHINGTON, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that concessions by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to defuse the standoff with anti-government protesters were not enough to resolve the crisis.
“The offers … have not yet reached an adequate level of reform and an adequate level of sharing of the future,” Kerry told reporters in Berlin following a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Kerry was traveling to an international security conference in Munich, where he planned to meet with members of the Ukrainian opposition. He said he would tell them that their efforts have the “full support” of US President Barack Obama and “the American people.”
“We will reinforce their courage and their need to continue to be unified as they press for an adequate level of a reform agenda,” Kerry said, adding that he would also convey that a continued standoff or further violence “is not in anybody’s interest.”
Yanukovych on Friday signed into law bills declaring an amnesty for demonstrators and canceling unpopular anti-protest laws, his first real concession since the anti-government protests erupted in November after he rejected an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.
The anti-protest laws, which were pushed through parliament without discussion by the ruling pro-presidential Party of Regions on January 16, sparked renewed street protests that descended into violence between police and demonstrators.
Kerry said Friday that reforms must enable the Ukrainian opposition to “feel that it could legitimately come to the table and form some kind of a unity government.”
He also alluded to tensions between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine, saying that Ukraine’s future “does not have to be a zero-sum game” or become “trapped in some kind of larger ambition for Russia or the United States.”
“That’s not what this is about. This is about the freedom of choice for the people of Ukraine, and their ability to be able to define their future without coercion from outside forces. And that’s what we hope to achieve,” Kerry said.
Officials in Moscow have accused the United States and its allies in Europe of meddling in Ukraine’s affairs, while Western governments have criticized what they describe as economic bullying by Russia to pressure Ukraine into tighter integration with its former Soviet neighbor.