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.
 
 
Error rendering storify.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: DrRobLee from: New York
April 22, 2014 4:55 AM
How quickly we forget the 1st election when Obama's foreign policy credentials were in serious question. So he picked Biden as the alleged foreign policy strong arm. Now, after foreign policy failure upon failure he rolls out this old dog as his bad cop. How pathetic.

     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid