Pompeo to travel to Ukraine in January

Agence France-Presse
Pompeo to travel to Ukraine in January
The trip will make Pompeo the most senior US official to visit Ukraine since the scandal at the heart of the ongoing impeachment process against President Donald Trump erupted

WASHINGTON DC, USA – Top US diplomat Mike Pompeo will travel in January to Ukraine, the country at the heart of the ongoing impeachment process against President Donald Trump, the State Department said on Monday, December 30.

Pompeo – who will also visit Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus – will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The trip will make Pompeo the most senior US official to visit Ukraine since the scandal over a controversial phone call between Trump and Zelensky erupted earlier this year.

Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on December 18 and faces trial in the Senate.

Pompeo, a staunch Trump defender, was personally implicated by several witnesses during the impeachment inquiry.

Trump is accused of withholding $400 million in assistance to Ukraine and a White House meeting with Zelensky to push Kiev to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. (READ: Ukraine president denies quid pro quo with Trump)

Despite testimony from 17 officials that Trump leveraged his office for political gain, the president has maintained his innocence throughout the impeachment inquiry – denouncing it as an “attempted coup” and an “assault on America.”

The statement does not mention corruption in Ukraine, although the White House has insisted this was the main reason Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was then serving on the board of directors of a Ukrainian gas company.

Ortagus only suggested that this issue could be discussed by referring to talks on “the investment climate, and the government’s reform agenda.”

The visit comes after Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists battling the government’s forces exchanged 200 prisoners on Sunday, a further sign of the fragile detente that has begun since Zelensky was elected in April.

Pompeo’s trip aims to “reaffirm US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Ortagus said. – Rappler.com

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