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Kerry decries disturbing trend of governments trampling aspirations of the people

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    US Secretary of State John Kerry stands with police before boarding his plane at Berlin Tegel Airport for Munich, Germany, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Kerry traveled to Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    US Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Kerry, left, meets with German President Joachim Gauck during the 50th Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. The conference on security policy takes place from Jan. 31, 2014 until Feb 2, 2014. (AP Photo / Frank Augstein) (The Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is decrying what he calls a disturbing trend of governments in central and eastern Europe — including in Ukraine — trampling on the aspirations of ordinary people.

Kerry spoke Saturday at an international security conference at which the crisis in Ukraine was a prominent topic.

Kerry says the crisis in Ukraine is about ordinary people fighting for the right to associate with the European Union. And he says Ukrainians have decided their futures don't have to lie with one country — an allusion to Russia.

The crisis began after Ukraine's president backed out of an agreement to deepen ties with the EU in favor of getting closer to Russia. Protests quickly came to encompass a wide array of discontent over corruption and other grievances.