Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Ukraine this week as part of his multinational tour of Europe and Central Asia, making his first trip to the country as Democratic-led impeachment against President Donald Trump proceeds in the Senate.
Ukraine will be Pompeo’s first stop where he will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday, Jan. 3, to reaffirm U.S. support for the country as it continues to battle Russia-backed separatists in the east, the State Department said Monday, The Associated Press reported.
The secretary will also honor Ukrainians who fought and lost their lives during the conflict, which intensified following Russia’s annexation of the Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014—the move is not recognized by the U.S. government.
“Excited to travel to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus in the new year to meet with counterparts and affirm U.S. priorities across #Europe and South Central Asia,” Pompeo tweeted Monday.
Excited to travel to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus in the new year to meet with counterparts and affirm U.S. priorities across #Europe and South Central Asia.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 30, 2019
Pompeo’s meeting with Zelenskiy came as the Senate weighs options for a possible impeachment trial against President Trump related to his dealings with Ukraine. The House voted to impeach the president on Dec. 18, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The impeachment inquiry centered on a July 25 phone call between Presidents Trump and Zelenskiy in which President Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine after it had emerged corruption allegations against the Bidens. President Trump’s request came after the administration withheld military aid to the country—the move was interpreted by Democrats as “quid pro quo” or “bribe.”
However, both presidents denied any pressure and the promised aid was delivered to Ukraine in a timely manner without an investigation.
During his visit, Pompeo also plans to give talks about economic, political reform and human rights with Ukrainian religious, civic and business leaders. After the meetings in Ukraine, he will travel to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus before returning to the United States.