European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has said that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has reassured her of his readiness to engage in dialog.
"In the long discussion I have had with the president, he reassured me that he was prepared to engage in dialogue, and I urge him to do so. He also reiterated his wish to sign the Association Agreement. I discussed with him the urgent need to release those arrested, to ensure a prompt and fair investigation, and to bring those responsible for violence to justice," Ashton said in her statement. "From talking to civil society representatives, the opposition and former Ukrainian presidents I conclude that last night's police action makes the launch of a political dialogue more difficult than before. In the next hours I will try to explore all possible ways to assure that a genuine peaceful solution is still in reach. It will require a high amount of political courage and determination," she said. Ashton said that she was deeply concerned about Tuesday night's action taken by riot police. "I have been very much impressed with the peaceful and courageous nature of the ongoing protests in support of European aspirations. I condemn the use of force and violence which cannot be the answer to peaceful demonstrations - and I call for the utmost restraint," she said.