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US condemns 'unacceptable' Odessa violence

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk from the Rose Garden following a joint press conference at the White House on May 2, 2014 in Washington, DCThe United States condemned “unacceptable” violence on the bloodiest day since Kiev’s Western-backed government took power, urging both Ukraine and Russia to restore order. At least 31 people died in a fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, with local media reporting that pro-Russian militants were believed to have been in the burning building at the time. “Today, the international community must stand together in support of the Ukrainian people as they cope with this tragedy,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement mourning the “heartbreaking” loss of life. Amid the most serious rupture in West-Moscow relations since the Cold War, the United States earlier threatened to hit Russia with new sanctions within three weeks over what Washington called its continued “destabilization” of Ukraine.

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