Readout of the Vice President’s Calls with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and President Petro Poroshenko (February 20)

Vice President Joe Biden spoke separately today with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and President Petro Poroshenko to discuss the latest situation in eastern Ukraine. The Vice President again strongly condemned the offensive by Russia-backed separatists in the Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, which was directly supported by Russian regular troops operating inside Ukraine in blatant violation of all three Minsk agreements as well as Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Vice President agreed with both leaders that Russia cannot continue to hide behind the false claim that these latest military operations are solely the work of local separatists. The Vice President also discussed with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and President Poroshenko options for effective monitoring of a cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy weapons, as called for in the Minsk Implementation Plan, particularly given the Russia-backed separatists’ denial of access to the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission.