(KIEV, Ukraine) -- Amid weeks of demonstrations in Ukraine’s capital, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) are lending support to those demanding the country become more open to the European Union, after a deal that would have brought closer ties to the West was abruptly shelved.
McCain and about 200,000 pro-European Union demonstrators packed into Kiev’s Independence Square on Sunday, as protests entered a fourth week.
“To all Ukrainians,” McCain said in an address to protesters, “America stands with you.”
Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich backed out of a trade deal with the European Union, a deal that many in the country had seen as a step forward for the country and away from Russian influence. Moscow, however, threatened the Ukraine government with economically crippling sanctions if they followed through on the deal.
McCain warned Moscow not to interfere in the affairs of the former Soviet republic, hinting there could be possible economic consequences.
“Interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States of America or to any other free country in the world,” McCain said.
“We do not want to impose sanctions,” McCain said. “It is not our desire to do so, but obviously the American people would want us to react to support the people of Ukraine in case of violence.”
“Both the foreign minister and the national security adviser who we met with said that they were going back to Brussels to pursue a final agreement,” McCain said.
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