The situation in eastern Ukraine remains on edge Monday, following a weekend of violence that reportedly left up to five pro-Russian separatists dead at the hands of Ukraine nationalists. Moscow has used the killings to press its case that Ukraine's Russian speakers are threatened and to accuse Kiev of not living up to last week's agreement on steps to ease tensions.
Here's some of the latest news from the region:
-- Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Ukraine's capital city, Kiev, on Monday. He was expected to offer energy and economic aid. Reuters says: "Briefing reporters on board Biden's plane, [a senior administration] official said the assistance was made up primarily of technical know-how to help boost energy efficiency as well as production in Ukrainian natural gas fields and extraction of 'unconventional' gas resources."
-- The Washington Post reports that the fiscal situation in Ukraine is so dire that the Ministry of Defense has been forced to appeal to the public for help. "People across the country have responded by pulling together for the Support the Ukrainian army fundraising drive, trying to repair the damage done by years of thieving governments."
-- The New York Times reports that in the eastern city of Slovyansk, police pulled two bodies from the Donetsk River. The man appointed as the "people's mayor" says the bodies were those of pro-Russian separatists. The reports came a day after at least three people were killed in a shootout at a checkpoint outside the city.
-- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused authorities in Ukraine of breaking last week's agreement to resolve the ongoing crisis. "Extremists are calling the tune," Lavrov said of Ukraine nationalists in reference to the fatal shooting near Slovyansk, the BBC reports.
-- Time magazine reports that in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk, despite its occupation by pro-Russian separatists, life goes on more or less as usual for residents. "For a city whose government buildings have been taken over by masked gunmen, whose police force has essentially stopped functioning, and whose streets could soon be overrun by the Russian tanks poised to invade from across the nearby border, Donetsk is incredibly calm," the magazine concludes.
For much more about the crisis in Ukraine and how it has unfolded, see our earlier posts.