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A protester wearing a gas mask stands amid burnt tires and garbage following clashes between demonstrators and riot police in Kiev. / VOLODYMYR SHUVAYEV, AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Biden called the leader of Ukraine on Thursday, as the Obama administration condemned deadly violence against anti-government protesters in Kiev.

Biden asked Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for "an immediate de-escalation in the standoff between protesters and security forces," said a White House statement on the call.

The vice president also asked Yanukovych to "meaningfully address the legitimate concerns of peaceful protesters," the White House said.

Biden said that only the government can insure a peaceful outcome, and that "further bloodshed would have consequences for Ukraine's relationship with the United States," the White House said.

President Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, said, "we condemn the violence taking place in Kiev and continue to urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation and refrain from violence."

Carney said the administration welcomes the news that Yanukovych is meeting with opposition leaders.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Biden calls on Ukraine to stop violence

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