Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden departed Tuesday on a five-day tour of Ukraine, Turkey and Morocco, with the ongoing struggle between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels, as well as fighting in Syria topping his agenda.
In Ukraine, Biden will meet with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to discuss "the need to quickly move ahead with forming a new government" and Russian violations of the Minsk ceasefire agreement signed on September 5, which appears increasingly threadbare.
NATO warned on Tuesday of a "very serious" build-up of Russian soldiers and weapons inside Ukraine, following a bad-tempered G20 summit in Australia at the weekend which Russian President Vladimir Putin left early.
In Turkey, Biden will meet individually with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss cooperation in fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
Talk will center on "coping with the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflicts on Turkey`s southern border," according to a statement from the White House, as well as "countering the threat posed by foreign fighters."
Turkey is already hosting at least 1.5 million refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict and has repeatedly warned that its capacities are being strained.
Biden, who is traveling with his wife, Jill Biden, arrives first in Morocco where he will "discuss a range of issues" including the fight against IS.