Vice President Joe Biden also said Ukraine is "on the cusp" of a new future if it's able to weed out political corruption.
WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden reiterated the Obama administration’s support for the government of Ukraine on Monday, as the nation continues to battle pro-Russian separatists in its eastern region.
Biden indicated that the U.S. will not relinquish support for Ukraine’s sovereignty when negotiating with Russia about the ongoing conflict in Syria, with the two nations maintaining differing views on Syria’s political future.
“The United States stands firmly with the people of Ukraine in the face of continued — I emphasize, continued — aggression from Russia and Russian-backed separatists,” Biden said in a press conference following a closed door meeting with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, the AP reported.
Biden pledged $190 million in new aid to support law enforcement, judicial and democratic reforms in the nation.
He said Ukraine is “on the cusp” of a new future if it’s able to weed out political corruption.
“A lot of hard work remains…but the pay off, the pay off will be worth it,” Biden said in a video posted by Reuters. “As long as you continue to fight corruption and continue to build a future of opportunity for all Ukraine, the United States will stand with you.”
Ukraine is a member of the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and Poroshenko confirmed his support for the mission during the join presser.
Biden’s two-day visit comes ahead of formal U.S. approval of a third $1 billion bailout loan guarantee to “help Ukraine return to a path of economic recovery.”
The U.S. has provided $470 million in direct economic assistance to the government since pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych was voted out of power by the Ukrainian parliament in February 2014.
Biden called on Russia to uphold cease-fire agreement reached in February 2015 in Minsk, Belarus — known as the Minks Protocol. He said Russian President Vladamir Putin is “systematically violating” it.
“Minsk cannot succeed if Russia does not fulfill its commitment and President Putin fails to live up to the promises he has repeatedly made to my president, to you and to the international community,” Biden said, VOA reported.
Ukrainian security forces have battled pro-Russian rebels for 18 months now.
In March 2014, Crimea passed a controversial referendum that purported to show a large majority support for declaring independence from Ukraine and joining Russia.
Putin then signed a treaty of accession with the self-declared independent Republic of Crimea, absorbing it into the Russian Federation. The annexation was not recognized by Ukraine and most of the international community.
According to a United Nations report released in September, nearly 8,000 people have died in the conflict.