Warning for Ukraine: European unity on Russia sanctions at risk, Biden warns Ukraine
Politics11:46 Sep. 22, 2016

European unity on Russia sanctions at risk, Biden warns Ukraine

Kyiv needs to accelerate reform process, US Vice President states

US Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday warned, Ukraine needs to speed up its economic and political reforms or risk seeing the European Union walk away from its sanctions on Russia, Reuters reports.

"We know that if they give an excuse to the EU, there are at least five countries right now that want to say 'We want out'" of sanctions against Moscow, Biden said, speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Biden's comments came a day after he met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the United Nations, pushing on reforms in Ukraine's energy and justice sectors, while saying conditions had been met for a third US sovereign loan guarantee of up to USD 1 billion.

Read also Poroshenko meets Obama on sidelines of UN General Assembly

Biden said he has spent two to three hours a week on the phone with Ukrainian leaders since the crisis began, urging them to persist with reforms, while also pressuring Germany, France and Italy to hold fast on sanctions.

"There's an overwhelming instinct in Europe to say, ‘Hey: before [Poroshenko] became president, this was owned by Russia anyway. They had a puppet there. What difference does it make? What the hell's the difference? Why are you making us engage in these sanctions?'" Biden said.

Noting a crisis of "self-doubt" in Europe caused by the United Kingdom's referendum decision to leave the bloc and the Syrian migration crisis, Biden said he has warned Poroshenko to make sure that the failure of the Minsk deal is not blamed on Ukraine.

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