Joe Biden Speaks To Ukraine President, Warns U.S. Is Prepared To Sanction

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Vice President Joe Biden listens to remarks at a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says the United States is prepared to sanction Ukrainian officials who are responsible for deadly violence in Kiev.

The White House says Biden spoke to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich) on Thursday afternoon. Biden strongly condemned the violence against civilians. The White House says he urged Yanukovych to pull back security forces immediately. That includes snipers, police, military and paramilitary units, and irregular forces.

At least 101 people have died this week in clashes between protesters and Ukrainian forces. Biden has been the Obama administration's prime contact with Yanukovych in recent days.

The European Union has already imposed sanctions on those deemed responsible for the violence. The White House says the U.S. isn't considering military options.

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