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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attend a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, January 16, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich(reuters_tickers)
KIEV (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Monday that "the international community" must stand up against Russian aggression and urged the incoming Trump administration to be a strong supporter and partner of Ukraine.
This is the last official visit to a foreign government that Biden will make as vice president, reflecting the special focus Ukraine has received under the outgoing Obama administration.
"You're fighting both the cancer of corruption ... and the unrelenting aggression of the Kremlin," Biden told reporters, standing alongside Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
"The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression," he said.
Comments by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in an interview published on Sunday suggest he is looking to cut a deal with Russia over Ukraine's head. He mooted ending sanctions on Moscow in exchange for a deal on cutting nuclear weapons.
Under President Barack Obama, the United States has invested heavily in helping Ukraine make a success of a 2013-2014 uprising which forced a Kremlin-backed leader to flee and installed the pro-Western opposition in power.
Its support for Ukraine, which has included the economic sanctions against Russia linked to the annexation of Crimea and a separatist conflict, has contributed to a deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations to their worst since the Cold War.
Biden has been the front man for U.S. policy towards Ukraine, visiting Kiev five times since the change in power and maintaining such regular telephone contact with Ukrainian officials that he has joked he talks to them more than his wife.
(Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by David Stamp)