2014-04-21 16:47:31

US Vice President heads to Ukraine

UKRAINE (Vatican Radio)-- American Vice President Joe Biden has begun a two-day visit to Ukraine following Sunday's deadly shootout in the east that shattered a fragile Easter truce announced by the government. The U.S. has accused Russia if stirring unrest and warned Moscow that time is running out for the implementation of an international accord to avoid more sanctions.

Biden arrives in Ukraine at a turbulent time. Russia has expressed outrage after as many as three people were killed Easter Sunday at a pro-Russian checkpoint in eastern Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Kyiv authorities were breaking last week's Geneva accord on resolving the Ukraine crisis.

Moscow blamed Ukrainian nationalists for the attack near the city of Slaviansk. And in a sign of more tensions, Slaviansk's pro-Russian mayor urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to send in peacekeeping troops.

“I would like to address the leaders of the Russian Federation and personally Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin," says the mayor, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov. "We beg you for help. If you cannot send the army as peacekeepers to help us, then help us by sending weapons, or in any other way you can.”

But Kyiv has accussed Moscow of looking for an excuse to invade eastern Ukraine after it already annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk claims Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union. "President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union. And everyday he goes further and further," he complained.

"And God know where is the final destination," the prime minister added in an interview with the American network NBC's 'Meet the Press' program.

He is also furious that pro-Russian militants are reviving the Nazi-era by ordering Jews in eastern Ukraine to register themselves with local authorities.

"We have got an information that these so-called peaceful protesters with the live ammunition in their hands, that they send a number of bulletins saying that everyone who is a Jew to be indicated as a Jew."

He says he ordered Ukrainian security forces to detain the militants responsible for the anti-Jewish action.

Amid the turmoil, Ukrainian believers pray for peace and unity this Easter.

"I am asking the Lord for everything to turn out well so that all we asked for, standing in Maidan Square [or Independence Square in Kyiv], all we fought for, will finally come true," an elderly woman said. "I hope God will help us!”

Ukraine’s Orthodox Church has condemned what he called Russian “aggression” and said “evil” will be defeated.

As they pray, Washington has accused Russia of stirring unrest in the region this Easter, charges Moscow denies. Listen to this report by Stefan Bos RealAudioMP3

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