KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday for talks on security, political and economic issues, Poroshenko’s office said.
“It is very important that my meeting, as the Ukrainian president, in the White House will be earlier than (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s meeting,” it quoted Poroshenko, who is already in the United States, as saying.
It will be their first meeting since Trump took office on Jan. 20.
Poroshenko said that he also would meet top officials from the State Department, ministries of defence, trade and energy.
“There never was such a powerful visit. And precisely in order to have the opportunity to talk about our cooperation in the security, political and economic spheres”, he added.
Poroshenko praised the U.S. Senate for the decision to introduce new sanctions against Russia, saying that sanctions were a civilized mechanism “to force the aggressor to get away from Ukraine”, withdraw troops and equipment.
Last week, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly for new sanctions punishing Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and to force Trump to get Congress’ approval before easing any existing sanctions.
The move was intended to punish Russia over issues including alleged meddling in the election, which Moscow denies, annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and support for the government of Syria in that country’s six-year-long civil war.
The Minsk peace agreement, brokered by France and Germany and signed by Russia and Ukraine in February 2015, calls for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line and constitutional reform to give eastern Ukraine more autonomy.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Stephen Coates and Nick Macfie)