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Biden calls for 'stand against Russian aggression' in final official visit to Ukraine

US Vice President Joe Biden has visited Ukraine in one last show of support. Though Biden urged the incoming government to support Ukraine, Donald Trump looks set cut a deal with Moscow over Kyiv's head.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko and US Vice President Joe Biden

Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko and US Vice President Joe Biden in 2016

Standing alongside Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday, US Vice President Joe Biden said the international community must "stand against Russian coercion and aggression."

"You're fighting both the cancer of corruption ... and the unrelenting aggression of the Kremlin," Biden told reporters in Kyiv. 

With just four days until Donald Trump enters the White House, Biden also urged the Republican's administration to be a strong supporter of and partner to Ukraine.

Biden's trip on Monday marked his final official visit to a foreign government as US vice president - underlining the special focus that Ukraine has received from the United States under Barack Obama's outgoing administration.

Watch video 00:22

Biden: 'Ukraine has the right to seek its own path'

'Never submit to Russian aggression'

"Ukraine will never submit to Russian aggression" and "will never return to being a vassal of the Russian empire," Poroshenko said on Monday.

Poroshenko said his government was building a "new Ukraine" that shares democratic values, rights and freedoms with the
United States, according to comments carried by state news agency Ukrinform.

Poroshenko personally thanked Biden for the strengthening of relations between Ukraine and the US in recent years, the report
said. 

Poroshenko said he hoped that Ukraine would continue to enjoy close relations with the incoming US administration of Donald Trump. 

Tense ties between Washington and Moscow

During Obama's presidency, the US has invested heavily in supporting Ukraine, particularly since the 2014 uprising, which forced Kremlin-backed leader Viktor Yanukovych to flee and installed the pro-Western opposition in power.

In turn, the US's support for Ukraine, which has also included economic sanctions against Russia linked to the annexation of Crimea and the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, has contributed to a deterioration in relations between Washington and Moscow.

Biden's visit on Monday came just a day after the publication of comments by Trump that suggested he might look to cut a deal with Russia over Ukraine's head. Trump mooted ending sanctions against Moscow in exchange for Russia downsizing its nuclear arsenal. 

ksb/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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