Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk
Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to congratulate him on forming a new government and to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine. The two leaders discussed Russia’s continued refusal to abide by its commitments under the Minsk agreements to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons, return Ukrainian hostages, return full control of the international border to Ukraine, and allow for an OSCE monitoring mission to be deployed along the Russian-Ukrainian border. The Vice President and Prime Minister also discussed the armed robbery of cash delivery trucks and ATMs by Russian proxies in the east, as well as the “war tax” being exacted by these proxies on pensioners and other citizens. The Vice President condemned this outrageous behavior, and welcomed Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s commitment to hold in escrow pension and other social benefit payments to citizens in the separatist-controlled territories with the aim of delivering these payments as soon as it is safe to do so. The two leaders both called on Russia to immediately create safe conditions that would allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid by the Ukrainian government and enable the recommencement of social benefits payments to the residents of the separatist-controlled territories, in addition to fulfilling the conditions that Russia agreed to in the September 5 Minsk agreement.