KIEV, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian acting President Alexandr Turchynov met U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday to discuss ways out of the eastern European country's crisis, the parliament's press service said.
The two discussed Ukraine's domestic affairs and foreign policy, with a particular focus on relations with Russia, it said.
Turchynov said the Ukrainian government stood ready to resolve the ongoing crisis through dialogue and deep administrative changes.
"We have plans to gradually upgrade the entire system of administrative institutions and the relationship between citizens and the state," he said.
He stressed Ukrainian authorities were making all-out efforts to decentralize power in the country in a bid to ease the tension in eastern towns, where pro-Russia activists demand more autonomy from Kiev.
Turchynov accused Moscow of fomenting trouble in eastern Ukraine and emphasized his country was "capable of confronting any external aggression."
Biden expressed support for Kiev's efforts to tackle the crisis, saying Washington "welcomes the changes in Ukraine."
Biden, the most high-profile U.S. official to visit Ukraine since the crisis broke out, voiced his country's willingness to provide "all kinds of assistance" to Kiev.
Also on Tuesday, the vice president told reporters after a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk that the United States would offer an additional 50 million U.S. dollars to help the Ukrainian government with political and economic reforms.
According to a statement issued by Biden's staff in Kiev, the White House also promised 8 million dollars in non-lethal military assistance for Ukraine's armed forces, including bomb-disposal equipment, communications gear and vehicles.
"The U.S. has always supported and will support all Ukrainians who want to build a better future," Biden said, adding his country was ready to help Ukraine reduce dependence on Russian gas and achieve energy security.
"The U.S. is now working in the region, together with Ukraine and its neighbors in order to address the issue of energy security in Ukraine in the near future," he said.
On the unrest in Ukraine's east, he warned Moscow of "further isolation" over its alleged support for pro-Russia forces, which he said were conducting "activities to split Ukraine."
Tensions in eastern Ukraine escalated earlier this month following an armed confrontation between Ukrainian security forces and pro-Moscow activists, who demand a referendum on autonomy and closer ties with Russia.
Kiev has repeatedly blamed Moscow for inciting the unrest, an allegation Russia denies. Last week, the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union signed a statement in Geneva, asking all sides to refrain from violence, intimidation or provocative actions as part of initial steps to restore order in the country.
MOSCOW, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis would have only a marginal effect the country's economy and citizens, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday.
"We are able to minimize their consequences," Medvedev told the parliament's lower house, the State Duma, in his annual address. Full story
WASHINGTON, April 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday urged Russia to "take concrete steps" to help implement the agreement aimed at defusing tensions in Ukraine.
In his telephone talk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kerry urged Russia to publicly call on "separatists to vacate illegal buildings and checkpoints, accept amnesty, and address their grievances politically," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press briefing. Full story
MOSCOW, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday any attempt to isolate Russia was bound to fail and he urged European Union countries to make responsible and independent decisions on sanctions.
"Isolation has never led anyone to anything," Lavrov told reporters after talks with Mozambican counterpart Oldemiro Baloi.Full story