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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Biden Denounces Putin's Actions in Ukraine

by VOA News November 21, 2014

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Friday condemned Russian behavior in Ukraine as 'unacceptable' and urged it to abide by a September peace deal by adhering to a cease-fire and removing military forces from the country.

Addressing himself rhetorically to Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin after holding talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Biden said: 'Do what you agreed to do, Mr. Putin.'

Referring to Russia's annexation of the Crimea in March and its backing for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, Biden, in a statement to the press alongside Poroshenko, said Russian behavior was a 'flagrant violation of the bedrock principles of the international system.'

Biden said the United States would always support a democratic, reformist Ukraine, but he made no specific mention of any fresh aid.

Russia denies arming the separatists or sending its troops across the border.

Biden's visit comes amid disagreement in Washington over whether to supply arms to the Ukrainian military, which at times has appeared outgunned by the rebels.

VOA's Myroslava Gongadze, who is traveling with Biden, said Kyiv hopes to convince the White House to overcome its reluctance to provide the lethal, defensive aid.

'The Ukrainian leaders are hoping to get assurances that the United States will stand with Ukraine,' she said. 'They need real help, and that includes lethal defense weapons to defend their territory. ... White House officials are telling us that it's on the table, that they are discussing the issue.'

Military equipment considered

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama's nominee to fill the No. 2 post at the State Department said the White House should consider providing Ukraine with lethal military equipment.

Tony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that arming Ukraine's military could force Russia to rethink its alleged role in supporting the rebellion.

On Thursday, the senior White House official said the United States still does not see a military solution to the crisis, which began in April and has killed more than 4,300 people.

Russia, which denies supporting the rebels, says U.S. lethal aid would further destabilize the crisis. Top-ranking Russian security official Nikolai Patrushev warned Thursday that 'the conflict will grow' if U.S. aid materializes.

Encouraging financial aid

Another main focus of Biden's talks on Friday is how to extend further U.S. support for Ukraine's economy, which has been battered by the unrest. U.S. officials say they understand Kyiv needs more financial support and say Washington is working with the European Union, International Monetary Fund and other organizations on the matter.

In other developments, the United Nations released a new report Thursday saying nearly 1,000 people have been killed since Kyiv and rebel leaders signed a cease-fire agreement September 5. It also cites numerous incidents of killings, detentions and torture.

The document says on average 13 people each day have been killed since the cease-fire deal.

Some material for this report came from Reuters

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