US Vice President Joe Biden meets Ukraine's leaders as Kiev marks the anniversary of the Maidan protest that toppled a pro-Russia regime. As Hayley Platt reports, one year on, there's virtually no sign of a resolution to the conflict.
It is a day of sadness and celebration. Hundreds of Ukrainians, including President Poroshenko gather in Kiev to pay their respects to those killed in last winter's Maidan uprising. Poroshenko chatted to relatives, ignoring taunts from protestors. It's the first anniversary of the revolt that toppled former leader Viktor Yanukovich. And Ukraine has declared it a new public holiday. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "Today we are together. And that is the most important thing. And we are together always. And Ukraine is above everything." Fighting began last November when pro-Moscow President Yanukovich abandoned a deal with the EU in favour of stronger ties with Russia. Government troops and rebels have been locked in battle for control of part of eastern Ukraine since April. Over four thousand have died - nearly a thousand of those since a ceasefire began in September, according to the UN. A series of sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe don't seem to have had much effect. It's now feared the truce with pro-Russian separatists is on the brink of collapse. And that's a worry for Europe, especially as Germany, the region's largest economy is showing signs of reflected pain, says Manoj Ladwa from TJ Markets. SOUNDBITE: Manoj Ladwa, TJ Markets, saying (English): "Germany has been the economy that has been propping up pretty much the entire euro zone and if we start to see weaker German numbers then we start to see a weakness in the European markets overall." Andrea Williams from RLAM agrees - and sees problems for Russia too. SOUNDBITE: Andrea Williams, RLAM, saying (English): "I saw Carlsberg talking about it the other day, about it getting worse there. Because now you're seeing the full effects of the sanctions, and also the weaker oil price will not help the Russian economy." US Vice President Joe Biden is in Kiev for talks with Poroshenko. He condemned Russia's behavior in Ukraine as "unacceptable", urging it to respect the peace deal and remove its military forces from the country. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, JOE BIDEN, SAYING: "Russia will face rising cost, greater isolation. It's quite straightforward and simple. There is the way to change all that: Do what you agreed to do, Mr. Putin." Biden is expected to present a new package of aid, including military vehicles and radar equipment previously promised. But Russia says the US supplying any arms to Ukrainian forces would be seen as a ''very serious signal''.