Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The two leaders discussed Ukraine’s reform agenda and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum on July 13th in Washington, DC. The Vice President welcomed the advancement of the constitutional reform process in Ukraine as a means to bring about meaningful decentralization of power in keeping with the Minsk agreements. The Vice President and Prime Minister also discussed the situation in the east and deeply regretted the numerous civilian casualties that have resulted from the continued shelling of the coastal city of Shyrokine by combined Russian-separatist forces. In that regard, the two leaders welcomed the renewal of European Union sanctions on Russia until January 31, 2016 to impose costs for Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine and ensure its full compliance with the terms of the Minsk agreements. The Vice President also strongly condemned the announcement by separatist leaders of plans to hold elections on October 18th in direct contravention of the Minsk agreements and Ukrainian law.