Russia accuses Ukraine of violating deal

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday accused Ukraine of violating the diplomatic deal that was struck last week to deescalate the standoff in the country with pro-Russian forces.

Lavrov blamed the Ukrainian government for a shootout late Sunday that left three people dead.

"Steps are being taken — above all by those who seized power in Kiev — not only that do not fulfill, but that crudely violate the Geneva agreement," Lavrov said, according to Reuters.

The gunfight erupted in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, whose government buildings have been occupied by pro-Russian separatists. The diplomatic deal called for the militants to leave government property, but the group in that particular city has rejected that requirement.

Last week, Obama administration officials said they already had prepared a new round of sanctions against Russia in case the situation escalates further. 

Vice President Biden is visiting Ukraine on Monday to meet with government leaders in hopes of ratcheting down the tensions.

The vice president is scheduled to meet with staff and families at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev on Monday and with officials in the interim government on Tuesday.

Biden is expected to meet with the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament and acting President Oleksander Turchynov, as well as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Tuesday. Yatsenyuk previously met with Biden and President Obama at the White House last month as the crisis between Ukraine and Russia escalated.

— This story was updated at 12:29 p.m.