CHIMBOTE, Peru (AP) — One by one, the senior officials from the capital took the microphone and apologized to an auditorium packed with angry people who had long been living in fear. The officials admitted they had failed to prevent a political murder foretold by its victim. Their integrity was in doubt.
Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Ukraine on April 22 to stress US support for Kiev and steps to improve its energy security amid a crisis with neighboring Russia. During his meetings with government leaders and civil society groups, Biden will "underscore the United States' strong support for a united, democratic Ukraine that makes its own choices about its future path," a White House statement said Saturday. The announcement came just a day after Washington unveiled sanctions against six of Crimea's breakaway leaders, including the official who signed the deal with Moscow to split the peninsula from Ukraine. A first wave of US sanctions unveiled in March had blacklisted officials and businesspeople close to Russian President Vladimir Putin to protest Moscow's takeover of Crimea.
Slavyansk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Ukraine accused Moscow of "aggression" on Saturday after Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen seized two security buildings in its restive eastern rust belt amid spreading protests demanding the Russified region join Kremlin rule. The coordinated attacks and a series of gunfights between militants and police in two eastern towns underscored the volatility of the crisis ahead of first direct talks between EU and US diplomats and their Moscow and Kiev counterparts in Geneva on Thursday. Ukraine's foreign minister blamed the occupations on the "provocative activities of Russian special services" while a prominent nationalist called on militants in his Right Sector party -- branded as a neo-Nazi organisation by Moscow -- to "fully mobilise and prepare for decisive action". And acting president Oleksandr Turchynov convened an emergency security meeting after his interior minster reported that a "gunfight" had erupted between local security forces and militants who had attacked a police station in the eastern town of Kramatorsk.