KIEV, July 29 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who is on an official visit to the United States secured its backing to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities, restoring the country’s economy and stabilizing the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
“The US Vice President emphasized the United States’ absolute support to the peace plan of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, political and economic reforms in Ukraine. He stressed that the US is ready to further provide political, consulting and technical assistance required for Ukraine to overcome the challenges it faces,” the ministry’s press service said following Klimkin’s meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden.
Klimkin thanked Biden for the United States’ consistent and active assistance and stressed the importance of consolidating the efforts of international community in addressing the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
Biden said that the United States would pursue its efforts to “beef up consequences” for Russia unless it took steps to de-escalate Ukrainian crisis.
Kiev has been leading a military operation in southeastern Ukraine since mid-April, trying to suppress protests by independence supporters in the region who have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government. The fighting intensified after Donetsk and Luhansk regions proclaimed themselves independent people’s republics. Hundreds of people, including civilians have died in both regions over the past months.
Moscow has described the ongoing military action as a punitive operation and has repeatedly called on Kiev to put an immediate end to the bloodshed. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has also urged the international community to intervene and investigate the crimes against humanity that occurred in Ukraine in recent months.
According to a report published by the United Nations on July 26, the conflict claimed the lives of 1,129 civilians since mid-April and injured 3,442 civilians.