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Biden to announce Ukraine assistance package

US Vice President Joe Biden is set to announce a package of assistance to Ukraine focused on the economy and the energy sector.

US Vice President Joe Biden is set for a two-day trip to Kiev Credit: Burski Krzysztof/ABACA/Press Association Images

Mr Biden has arrived in Kiev for a two-day visit, where he will set out plans to help the Ukrainian government better exploit the country's natural gas resources, along with measures to ensure international aid money is spent efficiently.

Read: Putin approves plan to extend Russian citizenship

Putin signs decree to 'rehabilitate' Crimean minorities

Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to rehabilitate ethnic minorities in Crimea who suffered under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Among the groups the decree concerns is Crimea's large Tatar population, which has largely opposed the peninsula's annexation by Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Russian television last week Credit: Alexei Druzhinin/Photas/Tass/Press Association Images

"I have signed a decree to rehabilitate the Crimean Tatar population, the Armenian population, Germans, Greeks - all those who suffered during Stalin's repressions," Mr Putin told a State Council meeting.

Read: 'Slaviansk shooting' raises tensions in Ukraine

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Russia accuses Ukraine of breaking Geneva deal

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Ukraine of violating an agreement reached in Geneva last week aimed at averting a wider conflict.

"Steps are being taken - above all by those who seized power in Kiev - not only that do not fulfil, but that crudely violate the Geneva agreement," he said.

Lavrov also told a news conference that a deadly gunfight early on Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists showed Kiev did not want to control "extremists".

Read more: 'Slaviansk shooting' raises tensions in Ukraine

Russia accuses Ukraine of 'violating Easter truce'

Russia accused Ukraine of "violating" an Easter truce after at least three people were killed in a gunfight in the early hours of Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Pro-Russian militant walks past burnt cars near a checkpoint in Slaviansk. Credit: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The separatists said armed men from Ukraine's Right Sector nationalist group had attacked them.

The Right Sector denied any role, saying Russian special forces were behind the clash in Slaviansk.

"The Easter truce has been violated," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

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Slaviansk mayor 'speaks to security mediators'

The self-styled mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, which is controlled by armed pro-Russian separatists, said he had been in contact with mediators from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, speaking at a news conference in Slaviansk, did not say what he had discussed with the mediators.

Nationalists condemn 'blasphemous' Slaviansk attack

Ukraine's Right Sector nationalists denied playing any role in a gunfight in Slaviansk, eastern Ukraine, in which at least two people were killed. They claimed Russian special forces for being behind the attack.

"It is a blasphemous provocation from Russia: blasphemous because it took place on a holy night for Christians, on Easter night. This was clearly carried out by Russian special forces," Artem Skoropadsky, a spokesman for Right Sector, told Reuters.

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