Vice President Joseph R. Biden retreated from an angry crowd in Kiev Friday when his Secret Service agents decided the situation was not safe.
Mr. Biden was to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at a site in central Kiev where demonstrators were killed earlier this year during the country’s revolution. But his motorcade encountered a large and “unruly” crowd, many of whom were shouting “shame” at Mr. Poroshenko for failing to prosecute those responsible for the killings.
According to a pool reporter traveling with Mr. Biden, the Secret Service “decided [it] wasn’t a good idea for Biden to wade in” to the crowd.
“A crowd of about 100, mostly elderly men and women, had gathered around a collection of photographs, placed on the ground in front of a large wooden cross,” the pool report said. “These, they said, were pictures of their slain children.”
The vice president’s motorcade turned around and met Mr. Poroshenko a short while later after the Ukrainian president emerged from the crowd.
Mr. Biden was to have laid flowers at the site of the memorial. He later met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Later in the day, Mr. Biden paid tribute to the fallen of the revolution at a different memorial near the Ukrainian Parliamentary Library in Kiev. He asked to be accompanied to the site by Voice of America correspondent Miroslava Gongadze, a Ukrainian journalist who is part of the traveling press aboard Air Force Two with Mr. Biden.
Mrs. Gongadze’s late husband, an investigative journalist, was killed by government police in Kiev more than a decade ago.
Mr. Biden set down a bouquet of flowers, and the two stood together at the memorial for about five minutes, after which Mr. Biden invited her to join him in his limousine for the brief ride to his next stop.