Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the situation in Ukraine:
“I remain deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Ukraine, and I join in urging the Ukrainian government to reach a peaceful resolution with the opposition before the situation worsens. I welcome efforts by President Obama and his administration to engage with Ukraine’s leadership, and I encourage our European partners to remain engaged as well.
“The burden rests with President Yanukovych and his government to ensure that those who gather peacefully in protest and seek the redress of their grievances are able to do so without the kind of violent repression that has no place in any democracy. The government should end its disproportionate use of force against its citizens, pull back police forces, and offer real concessions in an effort to reach an end to this crisis.
“The Ukrainian people have endured much hardship throughout their history, and the country’s independence in 1991 brought the promise of a future built on democratic institutions, the rule of law, the protection of individual rights, and mutual respect among differing groups. As Chairman of the Helsinki Commission before the end of the Cold War, I remember vividly the repression of dissidents and the denial of their voice within the political system. We cannot allow Ukraine to return to those dark days. Only through dialogue, peaceful demonstration, and responsive government will Ukraine be able to secure for itself the better future its people deserve.”