Biden in Ukraine Amid Growing Tensions
(KIEV, Ukraine) -- Vice President Joe Biden walked into a hornets' nest as he arrived in Kiev Monday for talks with leaders of Ukraine's government. Biden's mission is to bolster U.S. support for Ukraine that includes new energy and economic help as it deals with a major threat from pro-Russian separatists in the east. Moscow's state-run media called the Biden visit a search for "a face-saving exit from its foreign policy catastrophe."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also described Ukraine's interim government as "illegitimate," adding that Washington is to blame for the crisis that began with the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich last February in a popular revolution. Yanukovich fled afterwards and is reportedly under Russian protection.
Lavrov remarked, "Instead of giving ultimatums and threatening us with sanctions, Washington should realize in full measure its responsibility for those people they brought to power in Kiev."
Meanwhile, there were further signs that separatists in eastern Ukraine have no intention of abandoning government facilities they've occupied in a dozen cities despite an agreement last week signed by the U.S., the European Union, Russia and Ukraine.
New disturbances were reported Monday in various cities, including Kramatorsk where the police chief was kidnapped by pro-Moscow forces.
All this is going on while tens of thousands of Russian troops remain deployed near the border of eastern Ukraine, easily within striking distance if Moscow gives the go ahead to invade its neighbor.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio