US: Russia has 'days, not weeks' to follow accord

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US: Russia has 'days, not weeks' to follow accord
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left is greeted by Ukraine's Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia at Borispol airport outside Kiev, Ukraine, Monday April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Ukraine's acting president, Oleksander Turchinov, and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk on Tuesday, during a visit to Kiev. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden , left, is greeted upon arrival at Borispol airport outside Kiev, Ukraine, Monday April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Ukraine's acting president, Oleksander Turchinov, and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk on Tuesday, during a visit to Kiev. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves as he arrives at Borispol airport outside Kiev, Ukraine on Monday April 21, 2014. Vice President Joe Biden on Monday launched a high-profile visit to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Ukraine and push for urgent implementation of an international agreement aimed at de-escalating tensions even as violence continues. Biden planned to meet Tuesday with government leaders who took over after pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February following months of protests. The White House said President Barack Obama and Biden agreed he should make the two-day visit to the capital city to send a high-level signal of support for reform efforts being pushed the new government. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
People listen to masked pro-Russians as they gather at barricades in front of barricades at the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Masked pro-Russian gunmen guard an entrance to the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service with a Russian National flag is in background in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Masked pro-Russian gunmen guard an entrance of the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service with a Russian National flag is in background in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S.Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Armed Pro-Russian men on the street in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at a checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives at Borispol airport outside Kiev, Ukraine on Monday April 21, 2014. Vice President Joe Biden on Monday launched a high-profile visit to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Ukraine and push for urgent implementation of an international agreement aimed at de-escalating tensions even as violence continues. Biden planned to meet Tuesday with government leaders who took over after pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February following months of protests. The White House said President Barack Obama and Biden agreed he should make the two-day visit to the capital city to send a high-level signal of support for reform efforts being pushed the new government. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walks down the steps as he arrives at Borispol airport outside Kiev, Ukraine on Monday April 21, 2014. Vice President Joe Biden on Monday launched a high-profile visit to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Ukraine and push for urgent implementation of an international agreement aimed at de-escalating tensions even as violence continues. Biden planned to meet Tuesday with government leaders who took over after pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February following months of protests. The White House said President Barack Obama and Biden agreed he should make the two-day visit to the capital city to send a high-level signal of support for reform efforts being pushed the new government. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
A Ukrainian woman holds a bouquet during a pro Ukrainian rally in Khartsyrsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
Pro Ukrainian protesters are seen holding Ukrainian flags during a pro Ukrainian rally in Khartsyrsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
A Ukrainian woman waves a Russian flag while chanting pro Russian slogans during a pro Russia rally in Khartsyrsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. A group of foreign reporters has been captured by pro-Russian insurgents in an east Ukrainian city, but were later released. One Belarusian and two Italian journalists were detained by gunmen in the city of Slovyansk, which has been occupied by pro-Russian forces for more than a week. Slovyansk is part of many towns in the Russian-speaking region where insurgents are demanding greater ties with Russia. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
Mark Etherington, an OSCE special mission in Ukraine official, background right, stands as a car with armed pro-Russian men passes by him in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. Vyacheslav Ponomaryov the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Mark Etherington, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, special mission in Ukraine official leaves after giving his statement for media, with the occupied regional administration building seen in the background in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. Vyacheslav Ponomaryov the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Mark Etherington, an OSCE special mission in Ukraine official delivers his statement for press with the occupied regional administration building in the background in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. Vyacheslav Ponomaryov the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A pro-Russian protester guards barricades with a banner reading "Donetsk Republic" in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. Vyacheslav Ponomaryov the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Armed Pro-Russian men secure the area on the street in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at a checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Masked pro-Russian man blindfolds pro-Ukrainian activist and journalist Irma Krat after she was shown to journalists in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014, after Krat was taken captive by pro-Russian insurgents. The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
An armed Pro-Russian man on the street in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at a checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Pro-Russia supporters guard barricades with a sign reading "Stop"! atop of barricades at the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Armed Pro-Russian men on the street in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at a checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
People listen to a pro-Russian speaker as they gather at barricades with a Russian national Donetsk republic flags is the background at the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S.Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
People react while listening to a pro-Russian speaker as they gather at barricades at the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S.Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
People applaud a pro-Russian speaker as they gather at barricades at the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
People applaud a pro-Russian speaker as they gather at barricades with a Russian national flag is the background at the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A masked pro-Russia guards barricades as the Russian national flag flies at the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A pro-Russian protester guards barricades in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. Vyacheslav Ponomaryov the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A pro-Russian protester guards barricades with a banner reading "Donetsk Republic" in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. Vyacheslav Ponomaryov the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Pro-Russian protesters guard barricades in Slovyansk , eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. Vyacheslav Ponomaryov the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A Ukrainian woman holds a pass with the words 'Donetsk Republic', during a pro Russia rally in Khartsyrsk, 20 Km from Donestsk in Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
A masked pro-Russia guards barricades as the Russian national flag flies at the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is heading to Ukraine to meet with leaders of the turbulent country. Biden's visit comes a day after violence erupted in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement last week aimed at easing tensions.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Russia has "days, not weeks" to abide by an international accord aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine, the top U.S. diplomat in Kiev warned Monday as Vice President Joe Biden launched a high-profile show of support for the pro-Western Ukrainian government. Russia in turn accused authorities in Kiev of flagrantly violating the pact and declared their actions would not stand.

Biden, the highest-ranking American official to visit Ukraine during its conflict with Russia, planned to meet with government officials in the capital of Kiev on Tuesday. The vice president also planned to announce new technical support to help the fledgling government with energy and economic reforms.

Biden's trip comes days after the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and Europe signed an agreement in Geneva calling for Moscow to use its influence to get pro-Russian forces to leave the numerous government buildings they now occupy in cites throughout eastern Ukraine. The U.S. asserted on Monday that publicly available photographs from Twitter and other media show that some of the troops in eastern Ukraine are Russian special forces, and the U.S. said the photos support its case that Moscow is using its military to stir unrest in Ukraine.

There was no way to immediately verify the photographs, which were either taken from the Internet or given to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last week by Ukraine diplomats.

In Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejected charges that Moscow was behind the troubles in eastern Ukraine and failing to live up to the Geneva agreement.

"Before putting forth ultimatums to us, demanding fulfillment of something within two-three days or otherwise be threatened with sanctions, we would urgently call on our American partners to fully recognize responsibility for those whom they brought to power and whom they are trying to shield, closing their eyes to the outrages created by this regime and by the fighters on whom this regime leans," Lavrov told a news conference.

Words and actions by Ukrainian leaders are "absolutely unacceptable," he declared.

The U.S. has warned that it will quickly order new economic sanctions on Russian officials and entities if Moscow doesn't follow through on the provisions in last week's accord. Gregory Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said it was still too early to tell whether the deal would succeed, but he added, "The ball is really in Moscow's court in terms of whether they're going to take this diplomatic off-ramp."

"There needs to be concrete results," Pyatt told reporters in Kiev. He said the U.S. would make a decision on whether the agreement is working in "days, not weeks."

While last week's agreement offered a glimmer of hope that the crisis in Ukraine could be resolved peacefully, the accord appears to be fragile at best. The armed pro-Russia groups have refused to leave their occupying positions in eastern Ukraine until the country's acting government resigns. And there was a burst of violence Sunday, with three people killed during a shootout at a checkpoint that was manned by pro-Russian troops.

Ukrainian and Russian officials each blamed the other for instigating the attack. The White House said it was still trying to determine who was responsible and had no independent verification of what transpired.

"Overall, we are concerned about the situation there, and we urge paramilitary groups throughout the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine to lay down their weapons and depart the buildings that they have occupied, as was called for in the accord signed in Geneva last week," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Even as officials sorted through this latest disturbance, the State Department sought to build a public case against Russia for the wider unrest. The photo images released Monday show militants brandishing Russian weapons and wearing uniforms similar to those worn by Russian forces. The militants look similar to the forces that moved into Crimea in March, ahead of a referendum there that resulted in the peninsula being annexed by Russia.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Lavrov spoke by telephone Monday but appeared to break little new ground. Russia's foreign ministry said Lavrov told Kerry that the Ukrainian government was unable and unwilling to stop what the Russians call extremists in eastern Ukraine.

Biden planned to meet Tuesday with government leaders who took over after pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February following months of protests. He will speak with Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleksandr Turchynov, the acting Ukrainian prime minister and president. The vice president is also scheduled to meet with legislators from across the country and democracy activists before returning to Washington Tuesday night.

He held a series of meetings Monday with U.S. Embassy officials, members of Congress also in Kiev for an update on the crisis and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's chief monitor in Ukraine.

A senior administration official told reporters onboard Air Force Two en route to Kiev that Biden planned to announce new technical support to the Ukrainian government to implement energy and economic reforms. The official, speaking on a condition of anonymity to allow Biden to publicly announce any agreements, said the vice president also will follow up on recent U.S. commitments of non-lethal security assistance and discuss what more Washington can offer to help.

Biden also planned to discuss preparations for next month's Ukrainian presidential election and the latest developments in eastern Ukraine, where insurgents are accusing leaders in Kiev of aiming to suppress the country's Russian speakers in the region.

The Obama administration official told reporters that the assistance Biden will announce includes technical expertise to increase production and boost energy efficiency to reduce reliance on oil imports from Russia. The economic help includes advice to make sure international funding is allocated effectively and that all parts of the country are benefiting.
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