Top EU official pledges more support for Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A top European Union official has pledged more support for Ukraine as he visited the area near the separatist conflict in the country’s east. European Council President Charles Michel said Tuesday that “the EU has provided substantial support to Ukraine to mitigate the impact of the conflict, and this year we are starting a new program to support economic development and public services in these regions.” The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in April 2014 when Russia cast support for separatist rebels there weeks after annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. More than 14,000 people have been killed in the fighting, which also has devastated the country’s industrial heartland.