US pledges $1 bln to Ukraine as Kerry visits

US Secretary of State John Kerry gives a press conference at the US Embassy in Kiev on March 4, 2014Washington on Tuesday 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’s trip and the announcement of financial aid seemed designed to highlight Washington’s determination to support the authorities in Kiev as the West grapples to bring under control the most serious crisis in the region since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

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