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May 27, 2022

Ukraine crisis: Biden says Russia must ‘start acting’

US Vice-President Joe Biden has said Russia must “stop talking and start acting” to defuse the Ukraine crisis, the BBC reports.
He was speaking during a joint press conference in Kiev with interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Mr Biden warned Russia that further “provocative behaviour” would lead to “greater isolation” and urged Moscow to end its alleged support for pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the funerals took place for three men shot on Sunday.
Earlier in remarks to Ukrainian MPs, Mr Biden said the US stood with Ukraine’s new leaders against “humiliating threats” – an apparent reference to Russia.
Mr Biden said Ukraine also faced “very daunting problems” and stressed the need for the new authorities to tackle corruption, which he described as “endemic in your system”.
He told members of parliament: “The opportunity to generate a united Ukraine, getting it right is within your grasp.”
The 17 April Geneva accord was agreed at talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US. It demanded an immediate end to violence in eastern Ukraine and called on illegal armed groups to surrender their weapons and leave official buildings.
Pro-Russian militants are still holding official buildings in at least nine towns and cities in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
Photos ‘show Russian troops’ in east Ukraine
The Ukrainian government has released photos that it says show Russian soldiers among militants holding official buildings in eastern Ukraine, the BBC informs.
Handed to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe last week, the photos have since been distributed by the US state department.
They are said to show Russian soldiers or paramilitaries in flashpoint towns in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Russia denies it has military units on the ground in Donetsk.
Pro-Russian militants are holding official buildings in towns and cities in the east.
According to the Ukrainian press release, the photos show the same bearded gunman taking part in militant operations in the Donetsk towns of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk this year, and in operations in Georgia in 2008. However, in the 2014 photos, his greying beard appears to be black while in Georgia six years ago, the slimmer-looking man shown has a reddish beard.
Other unverified photos are said to show the same masked gunman in both Donetsk and Crimea, the Ukrainian region annexed last month by Russia.
The Ukrainian press release argues that the photos are proof of a Russian special forces unit operating in eastern Ukraine.
Lavrov accuses Kiev of breaking the Geneva accord
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the Kiev authorities on Monday of breaking last week’s Geneva accord on resolving the Ukraine crisis. He said the Kiev government – not recognised by Moscow – had not moved to disarm illegal groups, especially Right Sector, the BBC informs.
The authorities in Kiev say they were surprised by Mr Lavrov’s remarks and blame Russia for the instability.
Medvedev says Russia ready to withstand new sanctions
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has told lawmakers the country can weather the sanctions imposed by the West over the situation in Ukraine, the Voice of America reports.
In a televised speech to the Russian parliament Tuesday, Medvedev said he will not let Russian citizens become hostage to political games and unfriendly actions.
The prime minister said he is confident his government will be able to minimize the consequences of sanctions and that it will act under what he calls new conditions.
Crimean Tatar leader barred from Crimea until 2019
Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev has been barred from entering Crimea for the next five years, radio Free Europe informs.
A spokeswoman for the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatars’ assembly, said Dzhemilev was informed he was persona non grata until 2019 as he crossed to mainland Ukraine early on April 22. The order came three days after he was briefly detained at a checkpoint while entering Crimea.
Dzhemilev has accused Crimea’s new pro-Russian government of overseeing what he says is a campaign of repression against Crimean Tatars since the peninsula was annexed by Russia last month.

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