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Neighbors Call For 'Genuine, Meaningful' Dialogue In Ukraine

A woman walks in front of riot police on Hrushevskyy Street in central Kyiv.
A woman walks in front of riot police on Hrushevskyy Street in central Kyiv.
Ukraine's neighbors have voiced deep concern over what they called the "dramatic development" of events in Ukraine.

The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia in a joint statement condemned the cycle of violence and said a further escalation of the crisis "endangers the future of Ukraine and threatens with a complete destabilization of the country."

They also said they were concerned by the role played by extremist groups in the events.

They said that "only a genuine and meaningful national dialogue can offer a way out of the crisis."

The statement was issued after a meeting of the prime ministers of the four countries, known as the Visegrad Group, in Budapest on January 29.

Meanwhile, the United States is reportedly preparing financial sanctions that could be imposed on Ukrainian officials and protest leaders if violence there escalates.

Reuters quoted congressional aides as saying they have discussed preparations for the sanctions with officials from the Obama administration.

The details of the sanctions are still being worked out, the aides said, but are designed to be put into place quickly if the crisis in Ukraine devolves.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 29 passed a resolution calling on all sides to refrain from violence and work toward a peaceful resolution.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv last week revoked the visas of "several Ukrainians" in response to the violence.

In his State of the Union speech on January 28, President Barack Obama said Washington supports the right of people in Ukraine to "freely and peacefully" express themselves.

With reporting by Reuters
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