U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk during a meeting in Kiev,
The United States offers aid package worth nearly $60m as Joe Biden (left) travels to KievReuters

The United States has tabled a $50m aid package for Kiev's embattled government to help with political and economic reform, the White House said on Tuesday.

The announcement came as Vice President Joe Biden visited the Ukrainian capital and pledged support to Ukraine's interim government as it prepares for elections next month.

During the high-profile visit, Biden vowed to assist Ukraine in dealing with the "humiliating threats" and urged the country's leaders to fight corruption.

On top of the $50m offer, the US proposed a further $8m in non-lethal military aid, including communications equipment and vehicles, according to a statement issued by Biden's staff.

In a meeting at Kiev's parliament building, Biden told Ukraine's interim leaders that they must fight the "cancer" of endemic corruption and said that May's presidential elections could act as a springboard to building a strong, independent country.

"You're a month away from what I would respectfully suggest... may be the most important election in Ukrainian history," Biden said during a meeting at the parliament building.

"The opportunity to generate a united Ukraine and getting it right is within your grasp. And we want to be your partner and friend in the project. We're ready to assist," the American vice president told the Ukrainian political leaders.

There were suggestions before the trip that Biden would discuss energy security with Ukraine's leaders, including ways to boost Ukraine's production of natural gas. Kiev currently relies heavily on gas supplies from Moscow.

Biden told the assembly that Ukraine had an opportunity to secure its own energy security and slash its dependence on Russian natural gas.

"Imagine where you'd be today if you were able to tell Russia: keep your gas. It would be a very different world," he said.

In a speech that was at times aspirational and condemning, the Vice President said that the country's leaders top challenge was to crack down on corruption that sparked the protests in Kiev that eventually led to the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych as President in February.

"To be very blunt about it... you have to fight the cancer of corruption," he said.