Outgoing Czech foreign minister calls for end to bloodshed in Kiev

The outgoing Czech foreign minister, Jan Kohout, has expressed shock over the escalation of street violence in Kiev, Ukraine, urging President Yanukovych to end the bloodshed, release the detained activists and engage in genuine dialogue with the opposition in order to resolve the crisis. Mr. Kohout also called on the authorities to cancel the validity of laws passed last week which restrict freedom of speech and assembly and which intensified public protests in the streets of the Ukrainian capital. In a statement released on Thursday the Czech Foreign Ministry said the Czech Republic supported the transformation processes in Ukraine and would continue to do so. According to official reports three activists are reported to have been killed in the street violence on Wednesday, anti-government protesters say as many as seven people may have died in the clashes.