- POSTED: 31 May 2014 05:24
US President Barack Obama will meet Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko in Poland next week, during a European tour dedicated to shoring up regional security amid the worst East-West crisis in years.
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama will meet Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko in Poland next week, during a European tour dedicated to shoring up regional security amid the worst East-West crisis in years.
The meeting will come less than two weeks after the pro-European Poroshenko, a chocolate tycoon, was elected in the shadow of a showdown between Washington and Moscow over the fate of Ukraine that has brought relations to their lowest level since the Cold War.
The meeting will take place in Warsaw, where Obama will pay a highly symbolic visit to attend celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Poland's first post-communist elections.
"This is an important time for President Obama to affirm directly to president-elect Poroshenko our commitment to... Ukraine," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy US national security adviser.
Rhodes said Obama would support Ukraine's efforts to reduce tension and pursue dialogue and the unity of the country.
"We very much admired the people of Ukraine who turned out in huge numbers to elect president-elect Poroshenko. We have admired his commitment to dialogue," Rhodes said.
"This will be an important time for the president to check in directly."
After spending two days in Poland, Obama will move on to the G7 summit in Belgium and talks in Paris with French President Francois Hollande.
He will also travel to Normandy for the 70th anniversary commemorations of the D-Day landings during World War II, where he will come face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, from whom he has been estranged over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.
But there are no plans for Obama to hold a formal bilateral meeting with the Russian leader.
The US leader will be at the Elysee Palace, Hollande's official residence, on the same day as Putin also holds talks there, on Thursday.
There are no plans for three-way talks, however, Rhodes said.
Washington has been pursuing a campaign to isolate Putin over its annexation of Crimea - which has included the cancellation of the G8 summit in Sochi next month, and Moscow's de-facto expulsion from the group.