WASHINGTON, February 21 (RIA Novosti) – The United States on Friday welcomed a deal struck between Ukraine’s president and the opposition in a bid to end bloody clashes between police and anti-government protesters that erupted in the ex-Soviet nation this week.
“We support the efforts of all those who negotiated this agreement, commend the courageous opposition leaders who recognized the need for compromise, and offer the support of the United States in its implementation,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
The US government is calling for immediate implementation of the initial components of the deal, including putting an end to the street violence that has left dozens of people dead and issuing an amnesty, while also maintaining “respect for the right of peaceful protest,” Carney said.
“The United States stands with the Ukrainian people as they work to restore peace, security and human dignity across the country and determine the future course of their nation,” he said.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday met with opposition leaders and signed the agreement hammered out during overnight negotiations that were overseen by European Union envoys, lawmakers and a Kremlin-appointed mediator.
Later in the day, Yanukovych announced an early presidential election and a return to an earlier constitution that limits presidential powers and establishes the country as a parliamentary republic.
Carney called the deal “consistent” with what Washington has been advocating for but said that the United States remains prepared to impose sanctions on those it deems responsible for the carnage.
“As we have said, there must be accountability for those responsible for the violence and the casualties that have resulted since the crisis began,” Carney said.
Fighting between radical anti-government protesters and police has claimed at least 80 lives over three days, according to the Interior Ministry, marking the worst violence in the country since it gained independence in 1991.