Kerry in Kiev next week to show US support for Ukraine
US Secretary of State John Kerry is to head to Ukraine next week to underline Washington's support of the country in the face of attacks by pro-Russian rebels.
The State Department said Friday that Kerry would arrive in Kiev on February 5 and meet Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the talks would deal with "how we can work together to de-escalate the situation on the ground."
The United States has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin's government of fomenting and sustaining a rebellion in eastern Ukraine that has plunged the former Soviet republic into conflict.
Washington and the European Union have imposed and escalated a range of financial sanctions against Russia officials, individuals, companies and agencies, but Moscow has not backed down.
"The secretary's visit will highlight the United States' steadfast support for Ukraine and its people," his office said.
After his trip to Kiev, Kerry is to travel on to Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference, an annual international event for senior officials and experts, between February 6 and 8.
While in Munich, Psaki said, Kerry will meet with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. But she denied Russian media reports that he would also travel to Moscow.
Earlier, the Kommersant daily had said Kerry would meet Lavrov in Russia on February 4 and 5. Psaki said this was not the case, but also said this should not be seen as a change of plans.
She said it would be "hard to cancel a trip that was not fully formed."
© 2015 AFP