News / Europe

Biden to Visit Kyiv as Conflict with Russia Escalates

FILE - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
FILE - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
Reuters
The White House said on Saturday that Vice President Joe Biden would travel to Kyiv this month to show support for the Ukrainian government as U.S. officials expressed new concern over "violence and sabotage'' by militants it said were apparently supported by Russia in eastern Ukraine.

 Biden, set to travel to Kiev on April 22, will become the most senior U.S. official to visit the country since the crisis began there.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the State Department said.

During the call Kerry expressed strong concern that attacks today by armed militants in eastern Ukraine were orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea,'' said a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Militants were equipped with specialized Russian weapons and the same uniforms as those worn by the Russian forces that invaded Crimea. The secretary made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences,'' the official added.

The official did not state what those consequences would be.

The White House warned Russia against further military action in Ukraine after armed separatists seized government offices in the eastern city of Slaviansk, saying the situation was reminiscent of what happened before Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region.

"The vice president will discuss the latest developments in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists, apparently with the support of Moscow, continue an orchestrated campaign of incitement and sabotage to destabilize the Ukrainian state,'' the White House said in a statement.

Biden, a top advisor to President Barack Obama on foreign policy issues, has been deeply involved in U.S. diplomatic efforts in Ukraine since protests erupted in Kiev in November.

He will be the highest-level U.S. official to visit the country since the crisis began there. Secretary of State John Kerry visited in early March to show support for Ukraine's leaders after Moscow took control of the Crimea region.

Biden's meetings with Ukrainian government leaders and civil society groups are timed ahead of presidential elections on May 25. He will also discuss energy security issues, the White House said.

"The vice president will underscore the United States' strong support for a united, democratic Ukraine that makes its own choices about its future path,'' the White House said in a statement about Biden's visit.

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by: Not Again from: Canada
April 13, 2014 10:02 PM
I hope he is well equipped with personal protective equipment, and has an armoured vehicle available, because it is likely that the airspace will be closed by the end of the month or even earlier; the security sit is rapidly deteriorating. Travelling by night, with no lights maybe the safest way to do the trip, if the situation continues into a full fledged alert and then a war. Even under an alert sit, the airspace will be very dangerous.

by: B.B. Wolf
April 13, 2014 10:44 AM
It's Kiev, not "Kyiv".

by: Mario from: Napoli
April 13, 2014 12:50 AM
EU and USA must impose sanctions on vulnerable Russia's economic,especially gas sector. EU must not buy Russian gas! Don't give money to potential threat!

by: The Reverend from: Oregon
April 12, 2014 9:11 PM
This has been one of the worst play's by my Government in my life. What does Obama hope to gain here? He tipped his hand with Syria, is he seriously going to poke at Russia? We're facing an economic disaster here with the $128 Trillion Dollars in debt through unfunded liabilities and now Russia is going to make the Euro the base dollar for natural gas transactions? This is insane!

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