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Ukraine tells US it won't use troops against protesters

Published on Dec 12, 2013 11:15 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Ukraine assured the United States on Wednesday that it had a policy against using the armed forces against demonstrators, the Pentagon said, after Washington expressed alarm at Kiev's deployment of riot police against anti-government protests.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, in a call with his Ukrainian counterpart, called for restraint and warned of the "potential damage of any involvement by the military in breaking up the demonstrations," Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog said.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Pavlo Lebedyev said he would pass along the messsage directly to President Viktor Yanukovich, who is facing calls for his resignation over his decision to scrap a trade deal with the European Union and steer Ukraine closer to Russia.

"Minister Lebedyev stated that it is President Yanukovich's position not to use the armed forces against the protesters,"Woog said.

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