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EU warns Ukraine of "possible actions"

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday called for an end to violence in Ukraine and warned the authorities that the EU executive would assess "possible actions".

BRUSSELS: European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday called for an end to violence in Ukraine and warned the authorities that the EU executive would assess "possible actions".

"We are shocked to hear the latest news from Ukraine about deaths of protesters and deplore in the strongest possible terms the use of force and violence," Barroso told reporters.

Saying the situation was worsening, the head of the European Union executive said he wanted "to explicitly underline" the responsibility of the authorities "to de-escalate this crisis" and the need for them to begin "a genuine dialogue" to overcome the crisis.

"We are genuinely concerned about where these developments are taking Ukraine and will continue following closely these developments, as well as assessing possible actions by the EU and consequences for our relations."

Asked later what concrete action he was mulling, Barroso said it was "premature" to decide a course of action, which would need a general consensus.

The foreign ministry of Lithuania, which has played a prominent role in EU efforts to seal a partnership deal with Ukraine that is at the root of the protests, earlier said consultations were taking place in the EU over possible actions.

But talks between EU foreign ministers on Monday said there was no consensus on such a move.

The EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele will visit Ukraine on Friday and Saturday to discuss recent developments, his office said. He will meet representatives of the authorities and opposition, as well as representatives of civil society.

Earlier, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also called for "an immediate end" to the escalating violence in Ukraine after the deaths of two people in clashes between police and pro-EU protestors.

"The use of force and resort to violence is not an answer to the political crisis. All acts of violence must come to an immediate end and be swiftly investigated. Those responsible will have to be held to account," she said in a statement.

Two activists were shot dead as Ukrainian police stormed protestors' barricades, the first fatalities since the start of protests over President Viktor Yanukovych's failure to sign a deal for closer ties with the EU.

Joining the chorus of protests, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen too condemned developments in Ukraine, saying "violence can never be the answer to a political crisis".

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