Poroshenko to meet Trump before US president sees Putin

Petro Poroshenko [Presidency of Ukraine]

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet US counterpart Donald Trump in Washington Tuesday (20 June) 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,” the president’s office quoted Poroshenko, who is already in the United States, as saying.

It will be their first meeting since Trump took office on 20 January.

Trump and Putin are due to meet for the first time at the G20 summit, which will be held on 7-8 July in Hamburg.

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 US Senate for the decision to introduce new sanctions against Russia, saying that sanctions were a civilised mechanism “to force the aggressor to get away from Ukraine”, withdraw troops and equipment.

New US sanctions threaten EU firms involved in Nord Stream 2

The US Senate voted nearly unanimously on Thursday (15 June) for legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia and force President Donald Trump to get Congress’ approval before easing any existing sanctions on Russia.

Last week, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly for new sanctions punishing Russia and to force Trump to get the approval of Congress before easing any existing sanctions.

The move was intended to punish Russia over issues including alleged meddling in the US election last year, 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 (see background).

Russia has last March indicated it was ready to open the so-called “Normandy format” on talks over the conflict in eastern Ukraine to the USA. But relations between Moscow and Washington seem to have deteriorated since.

Russia ready to open up Ukraine talks to Trump

Russia has indicated it is ready to open the so-called ‘Normandy’ negotiation format over the crisis in eastern Ukraine to the United States, which appears to be a major shift in relations between Moscow and Washington after the election of Donald Trump.

Background

The leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine (the so-called Normandy format) gave their support to a deal to end fighting in eastern Ukraine, following 17-hour long negotiations in the Belarussian capital Minsk on 12 February 2015.

The four leaders committed to respecting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to a joint declaration.

Western leaders are closely observing the implementation of the Minsk agreement.

On 2 March 2015, European leaders said that they agreed that the OSCE needed a broader role as observers of the ceasefire, and weapons removal.

On 2 October 2015, the leaders of the Normandy format admitted that it would take time to organise elections in Ukraine that respect international standards and as a result, the so-called Minsk peace process would run into next year.