Obama, Ukraine Pres. to Meet Wednesday 03/10 07:33
President Barack Obama will meet this week with Ukrainian Prime Minister
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the White House said Sunday, in a prominent show of U.S.
support for Ukraine's fledgling new government.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama will meet this week with Ukrainian
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the White House said Sunday, in a prominent
show of U.S. support for Ukraine's fledgling new government.
Vice President Joe Biden cut short his trip to Latin America, nixing a
planned stop in the Dominican Republic so he can attend Wednesday's meeting, an
aide to Biden said. Biden had been the White House's prime point of contact
with Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovich, before he fled to Russia last
month following violent clashes in Kiev.
Obama's White House meeting with Yatsenyuk will focus on options to
peacefully resolve Russia's military invention in the Ukrainian region of
Crimea, the White House said, adding that the resolution must respectUkraine's
sovereignty and territorial integrity. By inviting Yatsenyuk, whose government
Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged took power by way of an
unconstitutional coup, the U.S. is also sending a clear signal to Moscow that
the U.S. considers Yatsenyuk to be Ukraine's legitimate leader --- at least for
the time being.
"What we've seen is the president mobilizing the international community in
support of Ukraine to isolate Russia for its actions in Ukraine, and to
reassure our allies and partners," said Tony Blinken, Obama's deputy national
security adviser, as he announced the meeting Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The announcement came as the Kremlin was beefing up its military presence in
Crimea ahead of a planned March 16 referendum on whether Crimea should break
way from Ukraine and join Russia. Putin defended the separatist drive as in
keeping with international law, but Yatsenyuk vowed not to relinquish "a single
centimeter" of his country's territory. Obama has warned that the vote would
violate international law.
Biden, who was traveling Sunday to Chile to attend the swearing-in of the
country's new president, had been expected to travel later in the week to the
Dominican Republican to meet with President Danilo Medina. But Biden has
canceled that stop and will return to Washington on Tuesday, in time for
Obama's meeting with Yatsenyuk on Wednesday, the vice president's office said.
The White House said Biden planned to reschedule his trip to the Dominican
Vacationing with his family over the weekend in Key Largo, Fla., Obama on
Saturday spoke individually with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Italian
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French President Francois Hollande, and
collectively with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.