US Vice President Joe Biden has urged the international community to stand up to Russian aggression as he visits Ukraine on his last official overseas trip.
Biden chose Ukraine as the destination for his last official visit to a foreign government to reflect the special focus the country has received under the outgoing Obama administration.
And during a speech alongside Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, he also urged the incoming Trump administration to be a strong supporter and partner of Ukraine.
US Vice President has visited the Ukrainian capital Kiev in what is his last official overseas trip
He told reporters: ‘You’re fighting both the cancer of corruption … and the unrelenting aggression of the Kremlin.’
‘The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression.’
Biden has been the front man for U.S. policy towards Ukraine, visiting Kiev five times since the change in power.
He maintains such regular telephone contact with Ukrainian officials that he has joked he talks to them more than his wife.
Biden, pictured with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has urged the international community to stand up to Russian aggression as he visits Ukraine on his last official overseas trip
Biden has been the front man for U.S. policy towards Ukraine, visiting Kiev five times since the change in power
His comments come as an interview with President-elect Donald Trump published on Sunday suggest he is looking to cut a deal with Russia over Ukraine’s head.
He mooted ending sanctions on Moscow in exchange for a deal on cutting nuclear weapons.
Under President Barack Obama, the United States has invested heavily in helping Ukraine make a success of a 2013-2014 uprising which forced a Kremlin-backed leader to flee and installed the pro-Western opposition in power.
Its support for Ukraine, which has included the economic sanctions against Russia linked to the annexation of Crimea and a separatist conflict, has contributed to a deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations to their worst since the Cold War.
President-elect Donald Trump, left, suggested in an interview he is looking to cut a deal with Vladimir Putin and Russia over Ukraine’s head
However, in an interview published today, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, struck a cautiously positive tone on the prospects for collaboration with Washington after a period of icy relations under Barack Obama.
He told the government-controlled daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta: ‘If Donald Trump’s administration is interested we will be ready to resume full-format consultations with our American partners through the Russian Federation’s Security Council.’
However, Patrushev added that he did not expect rapid improvements or a swift lifting of sanctions he said the West had deliberately imposed to ‘hold Russia back’ because the two sides were starting from such a low base.
On Monday the Kremlin said it would wait until Trump takes office on Friday before commenting on any proposals.