BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday urged the two opposing sides in Ukraine to exercise maximum restraint and seek a resolution within the legal framework.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on the current situation in Ukraine as well as the sanctions against Ukraine from the United States and the European Union (EU).
Escalating violence in central Kiev, the capital, has left 77 people dead and more than 500 injured over the past four days.
Hua said China expressed great concern over the situation in Ukraine and worried about casualties during clashes.
"China condemns the extreme violence in Ukraine and holds that all parties should express their appeals through legal means," she said.
The spokeswoman called on the rival sides to restore social order as soon as possible for the benefit of Ukraine's people and regional stability.
The United States refused visas on Wednesday on some 20 Ukraine government officials and individuals, while the EU agreed on Thursday to impose a travel ban and freeze assets of Ukrainians they deemed responsible for human rights violations and violence.
Russia, which wields heavy influence on Ukraine, urged the Ukrainian government to act more resolutely amid the current unrest and demanded the radical opposition stop violence.
Russia on Thursday also criticized Western threats to impose sanctions on Ukraine as blackmail and double standards.
China hopes that the international community will make positive efforts and play a constructive role in stabilizing the situation in Ukraine, said Hua.
Protests in Ukraine, which began last November to back the country's European integration, turned violent in mid-January.