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Biden Announces Further Financial Aid for Ukraine to "Remain One Country"



U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is calling for Russia to live up to its recent agreement to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, saying Ukraine is "in the struggle for its very future."

During a joint appearance Tuesday with interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Kyiv, Biden said it is time for Russia "to stop talking and start acting" on commitments it made last week during international talks in Geneva to withdraw support for pro-Russian separatist forces who have taken over government buildings in eastern Ukraine.

The U.S. vice president said Ukraine "is and must remain one country." He said the United States would not let Ukraine "walk down this road alone ... we will walk it with you."

Biden said the U.S. would provide an additional $50 million for the Ukrainian government, including $11 million to help fund the May 25 presidential election.



The White House also issued a statement Tuesday saying the United States will provide Kyiv with $8 million in non-lethal military aid, including communications equipment and vehicles.

Biden was in Kyiv for talks with Mr. Yatsenyuk and acting President Oleksandr Turchynov. He pledged U.S. assistance in moving Ukraine to become energy independent and not have to rely on Russian natural gas.

Meanwhile, Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for a deadly shooting at a checkpoint in the pro-Russian city of Slavyansk, shattering an Easter truce. Three people were killed.

The U.S. State Department has released photographs it says shows Russian special forces in eastern Ukraine. It says Ukrainian diplomats gave U.S. officials the pictures.

Russia has denied having any soldiers in Ukraine. It says all the pro-Russian separatists are locals.

The pro-Russians are demanding the right to hold referendums on splitting with Ukraine and joining with Russia. A vote last month in Crimea led to the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.

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