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US mulling sanctions on Ukraine

Riot policemen clash with protesters on Independence Square in Kiev, on December 11, 2013
Riot policemen clash with protesters on Independence Square in Kiev, on December 11, 2013

The United States is considering a range of options to respond to Ukraine's crackdown on opposition protests, including possible sanctions, the State Department said Wednesday.

"We are considering policy options, there obviously has not been a decision made, sanctions are included but I am not going to outline specifics," spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

"There is a range of options that we are open to but we are not at that point at this stage."

In recent days, Washington has upped its stand on the demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital, urging President Viktor Yanukovych to listen to the voices of the people who are calling on the government to sign a deal to move closer to the European Union.

US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland visited Kiev for the second time in a matter of days, and in a show of support visited protestors handing out cakes and cookies.

"It's important to convey our support for their ability to voice their views, support for their efforts on European integration, our belief that respect for democratic principles, including freedom of assembly, is a universal right," Psaki said.

Nuland had been sending a "strong message on the ground" that the Ukraine needed to get "back into a conversation with Europe and with the" International Monetary Fund to ensure it was "bringing justice and dignity to the people of Ukraine," she added.

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