U.S. Considering Sanctions on Ukraine

After police crack down on pro-E.U. protesters

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A State Department official said Wednesday that the U.S. is considering sanctions against the Ukraine government for its crackdown on pro-West demonstrators, the Associated Press reports.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki did not elaborate on what kind of sanctions the U.S. might pursue, but suggested all options were on the table.

The Kiev protests began in November after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from a trade deal with the European Union to pursue closer ties with Russia.

Tensions increased Wednesday when Ukrainian riot police raided a protest camp at the center of the city before later withdrawing. Following the clash, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the use of force to suppress the demonstrations was “neither acceptable nor does it befit a democracy.”

The U.S. has punished oppressive regimes in the past with asset freezes and travel bans on high-level officials.

With protests paralyzing the country, the Ukrainian President has asked political, civic and religious leaders to sit down for talks. The AP reports that opposition leaders rejected the invititation Wednesday, demanding that the president first free jailed protestors.

[Associated Press]