US accuses Russia of trying to collapse Ukraine economically

Joe Biden speaks during the closing plenary session of the US-Ukraine Business Forum at the US Chamber of Commerce on July 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo)

US Vice President Joe Biden has accused the Russian government of trying to collapse Ukraine economically, saying Kiev is “now under siege.”   

"Russia is trying to undermine the stability and sovereignty of Ukraine by any means it can, including attempting to create conditions that would cause Ukraine to economically collapse," Biden said.

"As a matter of fact, that's its first preference,” he added. "But we can’t let that strategy succeed."

Biden made the remarks at a forum for American and Ukrainian business leaders at the US Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

The vice president also claimed Moscow is sending troops and weapons to destabilize Ukraine.

"Russia is building military outposts on Ukrainian soil," Biden said.

"It relentlessly continues to send Russian troops, Russian hired thugs and mercenaries, Russian tanks, and Russian missiles into numerous parts of Ukraine," he stated.

The United States accuses Russia of sending troops into eastern Ukraine in support of the pro-Russian forces, an allegation denied by the Kremlin.

The Obama administration has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

This is while Washington has planned to train Ukraine’s army at a base in western Ukraine in November.

Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said on Monday the program would involve about 300 American soldiers.

"What is under consideration is what I call 'Phase Two,' which would begin in late November. If approved, then we would begin to train Ministry of Defense army units, starting in November," he said.

There are about 300 US forces in western Ukraine now for a training program that would finish in November.


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