News

Biden offers Kiev U.S. help, condemns corruption

Biden offers Kiev U.S. help, condemns corruption

KIEV:U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk during a meeting in Kiev, April 22. Photo: Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukrainian presidential candidates and members of parliament on Tuesday that Washington was ready to help Ukraine’s economy but warned them they must fight the “cancer” of endemic corruption.

In Kiev to offer a symbolic show of U.S. support, Biden said the presidential election on May 25 would be an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a more unified and prosperous country.

Washington, he said, was ready to assist in holding it.

“You’re a month away from what I would respectfully suggest … may be the most important election in Ukrainian history,” Biden said during a meeting at the parliament building.

Biden’s visit to Ukraine follows the signing in Geneva last Thursday of a four-way peace deal to de-escalate tension in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have seized towns and key facilities.

The Kiev leadership says the rebellions in the east are inspired and directed by Russia, one of the signatories of the Geneva accord, which annexed Crimea in March.

The Geneva accord is having only limited effect, however, with separatists refusing to put down their arms and pull out of key occupied points in line with the agreement.

Saying Ukraine faced humiliating threats and daunting problems, Biden said the United States was ready to assist its leaders in seizing a chance to create national unity.

“The opportunity to generate a united Ukraine, getting it right, is within your grasp. And we want to be your partner and friend,” he said.

A U.S. official told reporters on Monday that Biden would discuss energy security with Ukraine’s leaders, including ways to increase domestic production of natural gas. Kiev currently relies heavily on gas supplies from Moscow.

Biden told the legislators it would take time for Ukraine to achieve energy security but it was within the country’s power to do so.

“Imagine where you’d be today if you were able to tell Russia: keep your gas. It would be a very different world,” he said.

Biden said the United States was ready to help Ukraine stabilize and strengthen its economy, but he warned the leaders they needed to crack down on abuses within the political system.

“To be very blunt about it … you have to fight the cancer of corruption,” he said.

Billionaire confectionary oligarch Petro Poroshenko, who with former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is one of the front-runners in the May election, was present at Tuesday’s meeting.

(Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Andrew Heavens)

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Updated Prep Basketball Polls Released

Fresh
Basketball

The updated prep boys and girls basketball polls are out - see where Whatcom County's teams rank

in Sports

Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

Fresh
NCAA logo

A federal judge has rejected a proposed $75 million head injury settlement with the NCAA as too broad.

in Sports

49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

Fresh
San Francisco 49ers' defensive tackle Ray McDonald (91) against the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011.

Defensive lineman Ray McDonald has been released by the San Francisco 49ers amid an investigation by San Jose police into McDonald on suspicion of sexual assault.

in Sports

Wisconsin brings Pitt’s Chryst home as coach

Fresh
Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst in an NCAA football game between Pittsburgh and Miami on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 in Pittsburgh.

The school made it official on Wednesday, hiring Chryst away from Pittsburgh. The announcement ended days of speculation following the surprising departure of Gary Andersen

in Sports

AP source: Rays send Myers to Padres in big deal

Tampa Bay Rays' Wil Myers hits an RBI double during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014.

A person with knowledge of the deal says the San Diego Padres have acquired outfielder Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays.