Apr.22 - US Vice President Joe Biden promises Kiev that Washington is ready to help Ukraine's economy - but his visit is undermined by worries that last week's Geneva peace accord appears to be making little headway. Ciara Sutton reports.
He's the most senior Western politician to visit Ukraine since the uprising. Speaking to its new pro-Western leaders, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden pledged to help Ukraine through the crisis, including an aid package of 50 million dollars. SOUNDBITE (English) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SAYING: "We can help in stabilizing and strengthening Ukraine's economy by helping you withstand the unfair economic pressure being thrust upon you. We stand ready to do that and I say the American people stand ready." Pro-Moscow gunmen are showing no signs of surrendering government buildings seized in eastern Ukraine. At least three people were killed in a gunfight over the weekend near a city controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Washington says it will decide over the coming days on additional sanctions. But Russia says it will minimize the impact of any sanctions imposed. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. SOUNDBITE (Russian) RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER DMITRY MEDVEDEV, SAYING: "We will show our teeth if it necessary and it is within the law, we will appeal to courts and other institutions, including the WTO's dispute settlement body. I also consider it right to prepare an offer to adopt laws that will protect Russian business interests that are infringed upon by sanctions applied to them." The U.S and EU imposed sanctions in March including visa bans and asset freezes. Some EU states are reluctant to do more, amid fears that a strong euro is hurting European economies - with the euro as an unexpected destination for investors. BNY Mellon's Simon Derrick. SOUNDBITE (English) HEAD OF GLOBAL CURRENCY AT BNY MELLON, SIMON DERRICK, SAYING: "The one thing that has surprisingly been very apparent over the course of this crisis is every time tensions rise people have actually seen the euro rather than the dollar as the safe haven currency. Whether that's because they simply expect the European nations to take a softer line towards Russia than the U.S. I don't know, but it's a very notable phenomenon." Biden's message to Russia was clear - defuse the situation or face greater isolation. For Ukraine, he stressed the importance of next month's presidential vote - an election he said could be the most important in the country's history.