WASHINGTON — Sec. of State John Kerry departs Monday night for Kiev, with meetings scheduled Tuesday with Ukraine’s new government. Kerry’s trip comes as the Obama administration and European allies are preparing proposed sanctions against Russia because of its military moves in Ukraine.
Jen Psaki, the State Department spokesman said Monday while in Kiev “Kerry will meet with senior representatives of Ukraine’s new government, leaders of the Rada, and members of civil society. The Secretary will reaffirm the United States’ strong support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future, without outside interference or provocation.”
Vice President Joe Biden on Monday morning called Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev and, according to the White House,”urged Russia to pull back its forces, support the immediate deployment of international monitors to Ukraine, and begin a meaningful political dialogue with the Ukrainian government.”
Earlier on Monday, the White House announced it will not send a presidential delegation to the Paralympics in Sochi. President Barack Obama had tapped Rep. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill., the wounded Iraq war vet, to lead that delegation.
“In addition to other measures we are taking in response to the situation in Ukraine, the United States will no longer send a Presidential Delegation to the upcoming Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi. President Obama continues to strongly support all of the U.S. athletes who will participate in the Paralympics and wishes them great success in the Olympic competition,” the White House said.
Duckworth said in a statement, “As a member of Congress, it is my first priority to ensure the safety of my constituents and all Americans. I remain appalled by the immoral and illegal actions of the Russian government and believe that there must be consequences for its behavior. The international community must stand together to support the sovereignty of the Ukraine and end the suffering of its people.”
“The Paralympic Games are an inspiration to millions of disabled people around the globe and it is tragic that the reckless actions of the Russian government are jeopardizing them. Still, these brave Paralympians have shown tremendous perseverance throughout their entire lives and I know they will make all Americans proud in Sochi. ”