He didn’t come to Kyiv empty-handed.
In a show of support for Ukraine’s embattled government, US Vice President Joe Biden has offered 50 million dollars of new aid for economic and political reform. And he also outlined help with energy.
“An American team is currently working in the region with Ukraine and its neighbours to increase Ukraine’s short-term energy supply,” Biden said in a joint news conference with interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
“And more teams are coming to support long-term improvements, so that no nation, let me be precise – so that Russia – can no longer use energy as a political weapon against Ukraine in Europe.”
The EU is also seeking ways to help if the Kremlin turns off the tap to Kyiv, with Slovakia Ukraine’s best hope of getting gas from Europe if Russia does halt supplies.
“Starting reverse gas deliveries from Slovakia is one of the urgent tasks now,” analyst Mykhaylo Honchar of the ‘Strategy XXI’ centre told euronews.
“This could bring results – even if they’re partial – this year. And this is something Ukraine crucially needs. That is why the US position on this matter could encourage the Slovakian government to take the decision.”
The energy situation is hugely important for Europe which relies heavily on Russian gas – some 40 percent of which it receives in shipments through Ukraine.