US pledges $1B to Ukraine

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US State Department photo

Washington on Tuesday, March 4, announced a $1 billion support package for debt-laden Ukraine as US Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-profile foreign diplomat to visit Kiev’s new interim government amid a Cold-War style standoff with Russia. Stepping up the rhetoric against Russia, Kerry accused Moscow of looking for a “pretext” to invade Ukraine and condemned Russia’s intervention on the flashpoint Crimean peninsula as an “act of aggression.” Kerry also held talks with Ukraine officials and paid tribute to protestors killed on Kiev’s Independence Square. Kerry said Russia had committed an “act of aggression in Ukraine” by mobilizing troops in Crimea. “I think that it is clear that Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further,” he said. Shortly before Kerry arrived in Kiev, President Vladimir Putin insisted at a press conference that Russia had the right to use “all means” to protect its citizens in Ukraine but denied he had already deployed troops. Meanwhile, the Philippines advised Filipinos living and working in the Ukraine to prepare for possible evacuation in light of escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

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