Biden warns Ukraine on reforms, says EU sanctions on Russia at risk




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New York – of America has warned Ukraine on the need to live to its promises economic and political reforms or risk seeing the European Union walk away from its sanctions on Russia.

U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, gave the warning on Thursday while speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“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.

Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, has earlier at the UN, pushed for reforms in Ukraine’s energy and justice sectors.

Biden disclosed that he has spent two to three hours a week on the phone with Ukrainian leaders since the crisis began.

The vice president urged them to persist with  the reforms, while also pressuring Germany, France and Italy to fast on sanctions.

“There is an overwhelming instinct in Europe to say, before Poroshenko became president, this is owned by Russia anyway.

“They had a puppet there, what difference does make, why are you making us engage in these sanctions,’’ he said.

Biden said he has warned Poroshenko to make sure that the failure of the Minsk deal is not blamed on Ukraine.

The vice president also at the meeting, mentioned the crisis of “self-doubt” in Europe caused by the United Kingdom’s referendum decision to leave the bloc and the Syrian migration crisis.

Reports say Europe imposed sanctions after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.

Fighting has continued in the east of the country, in spite the so-called Minsk ceasefire agreement, and Western powers fear efforts could unravel.

In exchange for financial support from the U.S. and other Western allies, Ukraine promised reforms, but progress has been mixed.

(Edited by Hawa Lawal/Julius Enehikhuere)