Comments while meeting with Ukraines president came after Trump indicated he could aim Crimea-related sanctions in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal

Vice-president Joe Biden, on a last foreign journey before leaving office, met Ukraines president on Monday and called on the incoming Donald Trump administration to retain Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia.

Bidens comments at a briefing with Petro Poroshenko came after Trump indicated in an interview with the Times and Bild that he could end sanctions imposed in the aftermath Russias 2014 annexation of Crimea, in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal.

Trumps attitude to Russia and praise for Vladimir Putin has been a consistently controversial feature of his rise to the White House, which will be completed with his inauguration in Washington on Friday.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia sought to covertly influence the US election in Trumps favour and against the Democratic nominee, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Trump has recently admitted that he believes Russia did orchestrate such hacks, but has nonetheless fuelled a bitter feud with intelligence officials over the issue.

The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression, Biden told reporters, standing alongside Poroshenko, in remarks which did not include reference to Trump by name.

The Crimea-related sanctions against Russia must remain in place until Russia returns full control to the people of Ukraine.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Other US sanctions are connected to Russias involvement in the separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

Together with our EU and G7 partners, Biden told, we made it clear that sanctions should remain in place until Russia fully, emphasise fully, implements its commitments under the Minsk agreement.

Poroshenko told Ukraine believed in good cooperation with the new US administration and urged sanctions to remain, without mentioning Trumps remarks on a enter into negotiations with Russia.

Andy Hunder, the chief of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, said Kiev would have to put much time and resources into dealing with the new US administration.

On 20 January Ukraine will be waking up to a new reality, he told Reuters. There is a concern in Kiev about how the new relationship will develop. It will require constructing new bridges to the influencers, the gatekeepers and decision-makers.

Kiev has taken steps to win the very best favour of the those calling the shoots in the Trump administration. Days after the election in November, Poroshenkos office started scheming an official visit to Washington in early 2017.

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