Aug 28, 4:25 PM EDT

Biden, Ukraine leader condemn attacks by pro-Russian forces


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden is criticizing pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine for threatening to take more territory and hold their own elections.

Biden spoke to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (por-oh-SHEHN'-koh) by phone Friday. The White House says Biden offered U.S. support for steps Poroshenko is taking to decentralize power and fulfill Ukraine's obligations under a peace plan.

Biden is also praising Poroshenko for reaching a deal with Ukraine's creditors to restructure its debt. The deal with international bondholders will lighten Ukraine's public debt burden in a move aimed at helping the country avoid default.

The White House says Biden and Poroshenko also discussed Ukraine's upcoming local elections and says they condemned recent attacks by pro-Russian forces, including attacks on international monitors.

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