MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev has secured US support and is counting on substantial assistance from Washington if required, Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema said Wednesday.
“We hope that in case of aggression on the part of Russia this aid will be more substantial. Anyway we have secured US support and they will not leave us face to face with the aggressor,” Yarema said.
During a visit to Kiev this week, US Vice President Joe Biden said the United States would provide the crisis-hit country with a new $50 million aid package to help with economic and political reforms.
Biden arrived on a two-day visit Monday to meet with Ukrainian authorities as the country struggles to find a way out of a deep economic and political crisis. Many experts, however, suggested that the aim of the visit was to check whether the US was still able to break off its involvement in Ukraine without losing face.
The aid comes on top of a previously announced package including $1 billion in loan guarantees and about $11.4 million to promote free, fair, and peaceful elections on May 25.
The United States also committed $8 million in non-lethal military aid to support the Ukrainian army.
Speaking with journalists ahead of a government session on Wednesday, Yarema stressed that the US aid has not been effective so far and has not done much to promote Ukraine’s defense, adding that it was nonetheless a contribution to the Ukrainian army’s combat efficiency.
Top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union convened in Geneva last Thursday for talks aimed at resolving the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine. The sides agreed on a series of immediate steps aimed at de-escalation of tensions, including the disarmament of irregular militant groups and a wide amnesty for detained protesters.
Just days after the Geneva meeting, a curfew was announced in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk after a group of unknown gunmen launched a deadly attack on a checkpoint near the city as people were celebrating Easter.
Before the incident, unknown attackers opened fire in downtown Slaviank, injuring two local residents.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has condemned the attack as a “provocation” saying it demonstrates Kiev’s reluctance to disarm nationalists and extremists. On Monday, Foreign Minister Lavrov announced that the Kiev authorities had violated the Geneva accord.