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U.S. Vice President Warns Ukraine About Commitment To Reform

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (right) talks with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during a meeting in Kyiv in December 2015.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has delivered a blunt message to Ukraine, saying the country needs to follow through with economic and political reform or risk undermining European backing for Russian sanctions.

Biden said in a speech in New York on September 21 that Ukraine's progress in enacting crucial judicial and economic reforms had been mixed.

He said that was undermining support among European Union members for the sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014.

The Russia-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine also led to the Western sanctions.

"We know that if they give an excuse to the EU, there are at least five countries right now that want to say, 'We want out'" of sanctions against Moscow, Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations.

Biden met with Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, a day earlier, when he said conditions had been met for a third U.S. sovereign loan guarantee of up to $1 billion.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP