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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Biden at centre of US diplomacy with Ukraine as political crisis remains highly uncertain

WASHINGTON - Two days before he fled Ukraine's capital, President Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich) huddled on the phone for more than an hour with Vice-President Joe Biden, his primary conduit with the U.S. government throughout the political crisis consuming the former Soviet republic.

A senior administration official familiar with the conversation says Biden warned Yanukovych that the window for a resolution to the crisis was quickly closing — and may already have closed.

The official says Yanukovych was initially defiant and accused the protesters in the streets of Kyiv of being terrorists. Biden hung up the phone uncertain of the embattled leader's next move.

Biden spoke to Yanukovych nine times during Ukraine's political crisis.

The official was not authorized to discuss Biden's conversations by name and insisted on anonymity.

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