WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden on Thursday spoke to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk by phone about the situation in Ukraine, while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for a new interim government in Ukraine to start the reforms needed.
Biden and Tusk discussed steps being taken by the United States, Poland and the European Union to support an end to the violence and a political solution to the current standoff in Ukraine.
The United States slapped visa bans on Wednesday on some 20 government officials and individuals, while the EU agreed on Thursday to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on Ukrainians they deemed responsible for human rights violations and violence, as a total of 67 people, including 13 police, have been killed and 562 others injured as of Thursday evening since violent confrontations flared up on Tuesday in downtown Kiev, the capital city.
Russia, which wields heavy influence on Ukraine, urged the Ukrainian government to act more resolutely amid the current unrest and demanded the radical opposition stop violence.
Russia on Thursday also criticized Western threats to impose sanctions on Ukraine as blackmail and double standards.