Kerry emphasizes peaceful resolution to Ukraine unrest

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Russian counterpart on Saturday, following a call between President Obama’s and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to stress a peaceful resolution to the political unrest in Ukraine and call for the creation of a coalition government.

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“Secretary Kerry and Minister Lavrov agreed on the need to resolve the situation on the ground without violence,” according to a senior State Department official. “Secretary Kerry noted the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in Kyiv after the unexpected departure of President Yanukovych, and the political steps taken by the duly elected Rada under the leadership of its new Speaker,” the official added.

The Obama administration is closely monitoring developments in Ukraine after the country's parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office on Saturday.

“Going forward, the Ukrainian people should know that the United States deeply values our long-standing ties with Ukraine and will support them as they pursue a path of democracy and economic development,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement after Yanukovych fled Kiev and protesters seized his office.

The embattled leader called the political protests a "coup" and vowed to remain in power.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was also released from a prison hospital.

Kerry “expressed the importance of encouraging Ukraine to move forward on a path towards constitutional change, de-escalation, the creation of a coalition government, early elections and rejection of violence,” the State Department official said.

The official said Kerry also “reiterated the view that Russia, the United States and appropriate European and international organizations must work together to support a strong, economically prosperous, unified, and democratic Ukraine.”