Biden to head to Ukraine as conflict heats up

Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Trump: Why didn't Obama 'do something about Russian meddling?' 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states MORE will visit Ukraine next week to focus on international efforts to help stabilize and strengthen the country's economy.

He will travel to the capital of Kiev Tuesday to meet with Ukrainian leaders and civil society groups ahead of Ukraine’s first presidential election since deposed president Viktor Yanukovych was forced from the country.

The vice president and potential 2016 presidential candidate plans to assist Ukraine's efforts aimed at constitutional reform, decentralization, anti-corruption, and free and fair presidential elections set for May 25.

“The vice president will underscore the United States’ strong support for a united, democratic Ukraine that makes its own choices about its future path,” the White House said in a statement last week.

Despite a U.S.-backed deal brokered Thursday to end unrest, pro-Russian separatists have seized government buildings in eastern Ukraine and refuse to vacate unless the country's acting government resigns. 

Biden's trip overlaps with President Obama's week-long visit to Asia that also begins Tuesday.