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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora