News / Europe

    US Vice President Pledges Support for Ukraine

    US Vice President Joe Biden (R) and Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk leave after a joint press conference in Kyiv on April 22, 2014.
    US Vice President Joe Biden (R) and Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk leave after a joint press conference in Kyiv on April 22, 2014.
    VOA News
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is calling for Russia to live up to its recent agreement to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, adding that the country is "in the struggle for its very future." Biden also warned Kyiv it must tackle the "cancer of corruption."

    During a joint appearance Tuesday with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, 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,

    "We've heard a lot from Russian officials in the past few days. But now it's time for Russia to stop talking and start acting," he said. "We will not allow this to become an open ended process. Time is short in which to make progress."

    A related video report by Henry Ridgwell:
     
    Biden: Russia Must ‘Stop Talking And Start Acting’ on Ukrainei
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 22, 2014 8:03 PM
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is calling on Russia to live up to its recent agreement to help defuse the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Vice President Biden spoke in Kyiv Tuesday as pro-Russian protestors in eastern Ukraine refuse to leave the state buildings they stormed two weeks ago. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
    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 also 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. 

    A White House statement Tuesday said the United States will provide Kyiv with $8 million in non-lethal military aid, including communications equipment and vehicles.

    During his visit to Ukraine's capital for talks with Yatsenyuk and acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, Biden also pledged U.S. assistance in moving Ukraine to become energy independent and not have to rely on Russian natural gas.
     
    • A Ukrainian police officer stands guard at a checkpoint that was attacked by unknown men outside the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine, April 25, 2014.
    • A pro-Russian armed man smokes as he guards near the mayor's office in Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 25, 2014.
    • A Ukrainian soldier sits atop of his armored vehicle at a check point near the village of Artemiovska, near Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 24, 2014.
    • Ukrainian security force officers are deployed at a checkpoint set on fire and left by pro-Russian separatists near Slovyansk, April 24, 2014.
    • A Pro-Russian supporter walks at the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, April 24, 2014.
    • Municipal workers take a break from taking down barricades in central Kyiv, April 23, 2014.
    • Members of Maidan self-defense forces march along the street in central Kyiv, April 23, 2014.
    • Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during a briefing in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine April 24, 2014.
    • People carry the coffin of local politician Volodymyr Rybak, allegedly tortured and killed by pro-Russia separatists, during his funeral in the village of Horlivka, in eastern Ukraine, April 24, 2014.
    • People carry coffins containing the bodies of men killed in a gunfight on April 20, during a funeral ceremony in Slovyansk, April 22, 2014.
    • A pro-Russian armed man stands guard outside a regional government building seized by the pro-Russians, in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, April 22, 2014.

    Reports of murders, abductions

    Later Tuesday, Turchynov called for anti-terrorist operations to be relaunched in eastern Ukraine.  He said the bodies of two people, including a member of his own political party who was abducted last week, Volodymyr Rybak, had been found near the city of Slovyansk, which is in the hands of pro-Russian terrorists.
     
    Turchynov said the victims had been "brutally tortured" and that such crimes are being committed "with the full support and connivance of the Russian Federation."
     
    Meanwhile, the Russian news website Gazeta.ru on Tuesday quoted the so-called "people's mayor" of Slovyansk as saying an American journalist, Simon Ostrovsky, had been taken into custody by pro-Russian militiamen.
     
    The media outlet for which Ostrovsky works, VICE News, said in statement that it is "in contact with the U.S. State Department and other appropriate government authorities to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague, Simon Ostrovsky."

    Trading accusations

    Meanwhile, Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for a deadly shooting at a checkpoint set up by pro-Moscow separatists in the eastern city of Slovyansk, shattering an Easter truce.  Three people were reported killed. The separatists blame gunmen with the Ukrainian nationalist Right Sector group. Kyiv authorities accuse Russian special forces of staging the murders.

    The pro-Russians are demanding the right to hold referendums on seceeding from Ukraine and joining Russia.  A vote last month in Crimea, condemned by the West as staged by pro-Russian forces, led to Moscow's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.

    Washington has called on Moscow to live up to commitments made in Geneva last week to put more pressure on the pro-Russian protesters to vacate state buildings. Russia denies any involvement in the protests.

    Blaming Kyiv for the tensions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavror told his U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, on Tuesday that authorities there must take "urgent steps" to implement the Geneva accords, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.

    Kremlin's 'wider project'

    The White House Monday released photographs it claims show that a Russian soldier seen in eastern Ukraine this month was also in Georgia during the Russian invasion in 2008. The photographs have not been independently verified.  Russia has denied having any soldiers in Ukraine.  It says all pro-Russian activist there are locals.

    The allegations are part of a long history of Russian interference in the region, argues Andrew Foxall of policy institute The Henry Jackson Society in London.

    “I think what we’ve seen over a number of years in eastern Ukraine is the Kremlin and the Russian government effectively trying to provoke separatist sentiments. And the recent action that we’ve seen in Kharkiv and Donetsk is symptomatic of that and symbolic of this wider project that the Kremlin has been trying to undertake,” said Foxall.

    Washington says it is preparing new sanctions should Russia fail to live up to the commitments made in Geneva. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Russia's parliament Tuesday his country would withstand any further measures.

    "We will show our teeth if it is necessary," he said, "and, within the law, we will appeal to courts and other institutions.”

    NATO also is showing its teeth. Five mine-sweeping ships were deployed to the Baltic Sea Tuesday, designed to boost the alliance's preparedness and reassure eastern allies.

    EU holding back on more sanctions

    In Brussels, EU diplomats said the bloc was holding off from imposing further sanctions until it sees whether the Geneva deal works.

    The EU has been more cautious than the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia, with some member states worried about antagonizing a country that supplies a third of Europe's gas.
     
    Both sides stressed on Tuesday they wanted to depend less on the other over energy.
     
    Prime Minister Medvedev said Russia was more interested than ever in diversifying its gas exports and described as "a bluff" talk of Europe importing U.S. gas as a substitute.

    Partly as a result of the Ukraine crisis, the EU is stitching together measures such as raising electricity production from coal and renewables.


     Henry Ridgwell contributed to this story from London. Some reporting by Reuters.
     
     
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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
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    by: AAR from: Global
    April 23, 2014 2:05 PM
    Russia has tried to fool the entire world.......after WWII you Russians deport hundreds of thousands from Ukraine and Crimea (to Siberia,etc..)....you take their property and money and houses...then you resettle ex Soviet army troops in Ukraine (East) and Crimea....

    while you do that USA and UK and EU and UN look in other direction....but they know what is going on.....then when Ukraine wants freedom you say..."wait what about the right of the Russians?" Very clever scheme...but you cannot fool everyone!! People see what you do...

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 22, 2014 11:46 AM
    Like the US, EU, and NATO (pledged) support to Georgia in their confrontation with Russia, they now (pledge) that same support to Ukraine? -- And whatever that (pledged) support will be, it sure won't be a (pledged) military response from NATO against Russia.. -- Biden did (pledge) something, didn't he?
    In Response

    by: Moby from: London, UK
    April 22, 2014 2:47 PM
    Hungary 1956, Iraq 1991, remember those promises? Yeah, I believe the promises of someone who REFUSED TO SERVE alongside HIS OWN COUNTRYMEN.
    Did you catch Biden this morning calling the Russians COWARDS .... Biden REFUSED to serve in an AMERICAN uniform ... he used FIVE deferments to DODGE the DRAFT ......
    then he went on to castigate them for wearing FACE MASKS with no insignia ...... something they COPIED from this government's JACK-BOOTED-THUGS.

    by: Jeff from: CO
    April 22, 2014 11:08 AM
    We are such hypocrites. It's so wrong for Russia to support these pro-Russia people, yet it was totally ok for John McCain to fly into Ukraine and go on tour encouraging the pro-west people to overthrow the government.
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 22, 2014 7:10 PM
    What matters most in any country is the demonstrated will of the majority of the people of that country. A minority group within a country cannot dictate the direction of the country's movement. The minority has the right to freely express their point of view, but a minority that dominates is called an oligarchy. Ukrainian elections including the entire population of the country should determine the country's future.

    by: gen from: Japan
    April 22, 2014 9:41 AM
    Good job! Mr.Kerry at Geneva talks. Good job! Mr.Biden in Ukraine.
    You succeeded in selling energy to Ukrain.You took the market share from Russia. Energy companies in US will have good earnings next year.And Your supporting is good for Militaly business. US government loans american's taxpayers money to Ukraine.Then Ukraine buy the energy from USA by the money.And the neighbor countries around Ukraine buy or rent tanks and war planes from USA.Ukraine loan the money of USA to NATO nations.They buy or rent tanks and war plane jets from USA.Next year,USA economy will be good.Good job!

    by: david1221
    April 22, 2014 9:29 AM
    The new Ukrainian government is illegitimate, as came to power by force. U.S. as well as in Syria and encourages giving money to destroy the country in their own interests.
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 23, 2014 6:31 PM
    To: Ekaterina from Russia
    Dear, Putin's body count of his victims (Russian journalists and other Russian critics) is greater than the body count of Chikatilo. So, you know and we all know that Putin is the king of killers.
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 23, 2014 5:57 PM
    To: Ekaterina from Russia
    Dear, the "Russian Federation" uses the same tactics of murder, torture, false imprisonment, intimidation and lying propaganda that we have seen coming out of Russia since 1917. The "pro-Russian separatists" in Ukraine and ultra-nationalists are now carrying the "hammer and sickle" red flag of the USSR which is seen in TV videos which makes obvious the mentality and intentions of all Russians trying to crush Ukraine and make it a slave nation. Its an increasingly small world and Russia cannot hide its bloody intentions, no matter how many paid bloggers like yourself are spinning lies and arresting, murdering and gagging journalists and Russian citizens who protest Russia's aggression against all its former slave nations.
    In Response

    by: Ekaterina from: RF
    April 23, 2014 3:11 AM
    Dear, you're talking about bolshivekah and communism, but Russia is not communism! We Russian Federation! Federation, You missed the last hundred years! Our the President was elected with the help of the election and since he is not exactly the king killers.Chto you say? Juha!
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 22, 2014 7:20 PM
    The government of Russia came to power by force and murder of the Russian royal tsarist family. So, you are saying that the government of Russia is illegitimate, by the same logic. Elections in Russia are always dominated by the ruling party, to the exclusion of other parties. Leading opposition candidates are slander, defamed and imprisoned in order to steal their legitimate right to contest the continuation of the dominant party in power. And, as we all know, journalists are murdered to maintain the ruling party in power in Russia.

    by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
    April 22, 2014 7:28 AM
    This must give the Ukrainian people much comfort knowing that Joe is there. I hear a circus calliope in the background.
    In Response

    by: david1221
    April 22, 2014 9:36 AM
    This will lead to a large Ukraine's dependence on the United States. and as a consequence of interference in its internal affairs.

    by: gen from: Japan
    April 22, 2014 7:11 AM
    I don't think that Russia(Kremlin) supports separatists. If Russia really wants the eastern region,they would not do anything. Russia would not hold Geneva talks.I think Russia really are caring about the people living the eastern part of Ukraine. If they condemn the separatists,they think it would lead Russia ignoring the former Russian people of the eastern part of Ukraine. Unfortunately the separatists had become the hope of people because of the lack of ability in Kiev government. I think Russia can't discard the ordinary people of the same tribe.

    if Russia really want the territory of the eastern part of Ukraine,they don't need do anything.Kiev government don't have capability to control the country.It is not trusted by the people in Ukraine. It would collapse soon or later on its own.Russian special forces help doesn't need.After civil war and collapse of Ukraine ,Russia has only to have a alliance with the eastern part of Ukraine economically and mentally. I think that Russia just only are caring about the people.Kiev don't have capability as a government. USA makes meaningless words loudly on the basis of inaccurate information. Why do Russia have to tell the separatists to disarm? It happens in Ukraine,not in Russia.Why doesn't USA investigate about ultra nationalists in Kiev? Ultra nationalist is USA's friend?
    Most of Crimean people are happy and have hope now. USA seems to have forgotten the annexation of Taxes and California.
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 22, 2014 7:30 PM
    We now know that the terrorists that Russia calls "separatists" are led by Russian special forces previously found fighting in Georgia. And we know that these terrorists have tortured to death two Ukrainian government representatives. Their legitimacy is non-existent.

    by: petar from: NY USA
    April 22, 2014 6:37 AM
    Russia and Putin doing same thing as Milosevic did in frm Yugoslavia we all know how he and Yugoslavia and up just matter of time Putin and Russia will end up same way, he open pandora box

    by: Igor from: Russia
    April 22, 2014 5:14 AM
    Dear Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden, you are taking steps against laws and democracy by supporting those taking power by unlawful means. So you are the main cause of any trouble in Ukraine. If you say any more word of sactions against Russia, we will put an end to any of our co-operation including nuclear weapons, Iran, Afganistan, Syria and we reserve the right to use force whenever necessary.
    In Response

    by: Jeff from: CO
    April 22, 2014 11:12 AM
    Anonymous, why don't you consider the current Ukrainian government to be criminals? They violently overthrew a democratically elected government, spurred on by the blood-thirsty John McCain, who was in Ukraine encouraging them to revolution. Surely if you are against what Russia is doing now, then you must have been against what we did to set this all into motion?
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    April 22, 2014 6:10 AM
    Oh quit with your garbage. The cause of this is criminals. Noone has the right ESPECIALLY Russian people to be occupying another country's government buildings ARMED. Igor what would Putin do if Chechnyans occupied the Russian Government buildings? He would kill them ALL. What the Ukrainians should do now, is use the same gas that your so called leader "Putin" used in the Moscow Siege to dislodge the "Armed Groups" inside Ukrainian Government buildings. This would be legitimate use because Putin did it before and he claims it was legitimate and was not ever convicted.

    Anyone in any country that takes up arms and occupies another country's government buildings is a criminal no ifs and buts.

    Putin should be stating "We Russians will not be getting involved in Ukraine, it is not our country to dictate or enforce, therefore if any of you armed Russians expect us to defend your military actions or rescue you we won't be doing so. Instead we will offer any Russians to come back to Mother Russia if you desire, what happens in Ukraine is NOT our business, it is NOT our country. It is up to the Ukrainian Government. IF these occupiers are in fact part of the Russian military then Ukrainians have all the right to do whatever it takes with any force to remove these armed idiots in the Ukrainian buildings. Still Russia has to sit outside Ukraine because they have ZERO business going in there.

    by: Joel Wischkaemper
    April 22, 2014 5:13 AM
    If the Ukraine assumes this means military help for a despotic and corrupt government.. we can always put a parachute on Obama and Biden, give them weapons, and put them in that capitol.

    If this administration thinks we want to support the Ukrainians militarily, they are wrong and their handling is a bumbling mess. Putting NATO troops in Poland.. US Troops in Poland, just makes it worse. Stay out and let the U.N. handle it as should be done.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 22, 2014 11:34 AM
    Like what happened in Georgia, the US, EU, and NATO, are powerless to stop whatever the Russians do in Ukraine, but issue more sanctions against them... The logistics of NATO mounting military forces against Russia, in Poland, Romania, or Hungary, is unfathomable? -- Plus NATO forces haven't won a war since it's creation?
    In Response

    by: Ron Vick from: Charleston Maine
    April 22, 2014 10:36 AM
    I agree totally, I was married to a Ukrainian, and when they were part of, they had a good life Russia .The U.S.has no business being in the Ukraine.When we realize we are not the power we once were. We could use all the money here at home. To feed our poor, money for better education. Every conflict we have been, starting with Vietnam have been failures on our part. We go in and shoot them up then and then provide humongous amounts of foreign aid. I know, I am a Vietnam Veteran. Wake up people, this president needs to go. He is worse than Carter.
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