The US and Europe have clashed with Russia over the continuing turmoil in Ukraine.
At a security conference in Munich, western leaders said that Moscow must not strong-arm Kiev into an unpopular alliance.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that America stands with the people of Ukraine.
“The vast majority of Ukrainians want to live freely in a safe and prosperous country. And they are fighting for the right to associate with partners who help them realise their aspirations,” said Kerry.
“And they have decided that that means their futures do not have to lie with one country alone and certainly not coerced.”
In a tug of war, Russia’s foreign minister hit back – claiming the West was giving Ukraine no choice.
“Why don’t we condemn those who seize and hold government buildings, attack the police, torch the police, use racist and anti-semitic and Nazi slogans?,” asked Sergei Lavrov.
Western officials have been meeting with Ukrainian opposition leaders in Munich. Among those attending was boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko.
Reporting from Munich, euronews correspondent James Franey said: “John Kerry said the US and the EU fully stand behind the people of Ukraine. But the country’s opposition leaders are looking for something more than that.
“They hope to convince America and Europe that applying sanctions against the Yanukovich government would be the next logical step in solving the political crisis.”
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