Ukraine Prime Minister to Meet with Obama Wednesday
This weekend, President Obama is spending time with his family in Key Largo, but he'll soon play a part in a much more important trip. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, prime minister of Ukraine, will visit Obama on Wednesday for a consultation. Tensions during the meeting will no doubt be high: it is scheduled to happen less than a week before a referendum vote on Crimean secession, set for March 16.
"The visit will highlight the strong support of the United States for the people of Ukraine, who have demonstrated inspiring courage and resilience through recent times of crisis," said White House spokesman Jay Carney in a statement. The two leaders are expected to discuss ways to "find a peaceful resolution" to Russia's incursion in Crimea, as well as Ukraine's upcoming May elections and possibilities for economic aid.
The announcement of the meeting comes a day after Obama spoke with the leaders of several countries allied with Ukraine. In calls to the leaders of Estonia, Latvia, the UK, Lithuania, Italy, and France, Obama again reaffirmed his support of Ukrainian sovereignty, as did the other presidents and prime ministers. According to a press release from the White House, "The Baltic leaders welcomed the provision of additional support to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, and the leaders agreed to continue coordinating their efforts closely."
Nevertheless, Russia continued its military operations in Ukraine on Sunday, taking control of a western border post and detaining 30 Ukrainian troops. Russian troops now have control of twelve such posts, according to one border guard, although Russia continues to insist the only troops it has in the region are at its Black Sea naval base.