The US’ top diplomat will travel to Ukraine as tensions between the West and Russia rise over fears of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Kyiv on Wednesday and meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba to “reinforce the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the State Department said in a statement.
The trip follows negotiations in Europe between the US and Russia that did little to assuage mounting tensions.
Following the talks, multiple US officials warned that Russia was preparing to frame Ukraine in a false flag operation as a pretext to invade the neighbouring country. Russia has denied the US allegation.
Blinken will travel from Kyiv to Berlin on Thursday to discuss the talks with Russia and efforts to prevent an invasion of Ukraine with foreign minister Annalena Baerbock. He will also meet with officials from the UK and France, according to the State Department.
“The trip follows extensive diplomacy with our European Allies and partners about a united approach to address the threat Russia poses to Ukraine and our joint efforts to encourage it to choose diplomacy and de-escalation in the interests of security and stability,” the State Department said.
Russia is expecting the US to respond to a request that NATO not expand to former Soviet nations, something the US and its allies have rejected.
The US and European countries have warned for weeks of a possible Russian invasion following the buildup of tens of thousands of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border.
Last week, Ukrainian government websites went down after a cyberattack that authorities blamed on hackers linked to Russia.