House to slam Ukraine over rising violence

The House will vote as early as today on a resolution that calls on the Obama administration to deny U.S. entry visas to any Ukrainian official linked to government violence against civilian protestors.

Thousands of Ukrainians have protested their government's decision in November to abandon an association agreement with the European Union.

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The resolution in the House today, H.Res. 447, says citizen protests have been "overwhelmingly peaceful," but that the government started using violence to disperse people in November. It also finds that the government has raided opposition media outlets.

Demonstrations against the government led the Ukrainian Parliament and President Viktor Yanukovych to agree last month on a new law that limits the rights of protestors. That move has led to more protests — a recent report says demonstrators attacked government buildings with explosives, which prompted the government to fight back with tear gas.

"[T]he passage of these undemocratic measures and President Yanukovych's refusal to engage in substantive dialogue with opposition leaders precipitated several days of violence and resulted in several deaths and hundreds of injuries, as well as numerous allegations of policy brutality," the House resolution reads.

The non-binding resolution calls on the U.S. government to ensure that any Ukraine officials involved in that violence are held "personally accountable." This includes steps to revoke the visas of those officials, and the consideration of "additional targeted sanctions" against them.

It also calls on the United States and European to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis and support the desire of Ukrainians to have a closer relationship with Europe.

The House is bringing up the resolution under a suspension of House rules today, which means it will get less debate and will need a two-thirds majority to pass. But that should be easy — the bipartisan resolution was sponsored by the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engal (D-N.Y.), and co-sponsored by the chairman of that committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.).