Thursday October 8th, 2015 2:06PM

Obama threatens consequences for Ukraine violence

By The Associated Press
TOLUCA, Mexico (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Ukraine to avoid violence against peaceful protesters or face consequences, as the United States considered joining European partners to impose sanctions aimed at ending deadly street clashes that are sparking fears of civil war.

"There will be consequences if people step over the line," Obama said shortly after landing in Mexico for a summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, as fires burned in central Kiev. "And that includes making sure that the Ukrainian military does not step in to what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians."

The European Union called an extraordinary meeting of its 28 member countries on Thursday to address the situation.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in Paris that he and his counterparts from Germany and Poland would travel to Ukraine, meeting with the Ukrainian government and opposition before the emergency EU meeting. EU sanctions would typically include banning leading officials from traveling to the EU countries and freezing their assets there.

Obama said he is monitoring the Ukrainian violence "very carefully."

"We expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint and to not resort to violence when dealing with peaceful protesters," Obama said.

"We hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way, that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression," Obama said, adding he also expects protesters to remain peaceful.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in Paris for meetings with Fabius and others, said he was disturbed by the level of abuse demonstrated by the Ukrainian government and protesters.

"We are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps in order to create the atmosphere for compromise," he said.

It was not immediately clear Wednesday what sort of sanctions or penalties the U.S. could impose.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said visa restrictions already have been imposed against some members of the Ukrainian government, and cited "different kinds of individual sanctions that can be levied" without being specific. She said officials are still trying to determine who is responsible for the violence and described a sense of urgency within the Obama administration "to make decisions very, very soon about what we will do next."

Kerry said the situation is bad but there's room for dialogue and that it's up to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to decide the future of his country.

"Our desire is for President Yanukovych to bring people together, dialogue with the opposition and find (a way) to compromise and put the broad interests of the people of Ukraine out front," he said. "We are convinced there is still space for that to happen. The violence can be avoided and, in the end, the aspirations of the people of Ukraine can be met through that kind of dialogue. That is our hope," he added.

Deadly clashes between police and anti-government protesters in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Tuesday left at least 25 people dead and hundreds injured.

Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, told reporters traveling with Obama aboard Air Force one that what happened Tuesday was "completely outrageous" and will be a factor in U.S. decision-making.

He said there was still time for the Ukrainian government to avoid sanctions or other punishment by pulling back its "riot police," respecting people's right to protest peacefully, releasing protesters who have been arrested and pursuing a "serious dialogue" with the opposition about how to unify the country.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 9 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 9 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 9 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 9 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 9 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 9 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 9 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 9 months ago )
UN is next stop for Obama after success with Iran, pope; top issues are IS, Syria, Russia
NEW YORK (AP) — Fresh from successes on Iran and with the pope, President Barack Obama still carried heavy burdens into critical meetings this week at the U.N. General Assembly.They include the threat...
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
Stunning Congress, House Speaker Boehner announces plans to resign; tea party declares victory
WASHINGTON (AP) — Plunging Congress into deeper turmoil, House Speaker John Boehner abruptly announced his resignation Friday, shutting down a tea party drive to depose the nation's highest-ranking Re...
6:14PM ( 1 week ago )
Tornado heavily damages 10 homes but causes no injuries on island in South Carolina
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A tornado quickly blew through a neighborhood on the South Carolina coast early Friday and blew out windows, knocked down trees and heavily damaged ten homes.The tornado touc...
5:08PM ( 1 week ago )
Caterpillar says it may cut more than 10,000 jobs by 2018, lowers 2015 revenue expectation
Caterpillar is planning another round of job cuts that could exceed 10,000 people through 2018, as the construction and mining equipment maker adjusts to downturns in key markets.That could amount to...
10:06AM ( 1 week ago )
Escaped tarantula grounds Atlanta-bound flight in Baltimore
An eight-legged creature that escaped in the cargo hold of a passenger flight from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International grounded the plane and sent passengers onto another flight.
By The Associated Press
9:06AM ( 1 week ago )