Biden to attend Ukraine inauguration

Biden to attend Ukraine inauguration
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Vice President Biden will head to Kiev this weekend to attend the inauguration of President-elect Petro Poroshenko, in a signal of support for the fledgling Ukrainian government.

Poroshenko, a pro-European chocolate magnate, won 54.7 percent of the vote in elections late last month and will be sworn in on June 7.


"The Vice President will also hold meetings with Ukraine’s leaders to discuss President-elect Poroshenko’s agenda, the situation in the east, and how the United States can assist Ukraine with fighting corruption, strengthening its democratic institutions, and putting its economy back on a path towards sustainable growth," the White House said in a statement.

White House officials hope that Poroshenko can negotiate greater autonomy for regions of southwestern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have seized government buildings. Any arrangement would need to be consistent with international law, be accepted by Moscow and keep the Ukrainian economy intact.

Biden's visit to Kiev will follow President Obama's trip to Warsaw this week, where he plans to meet Poroshenko in another sign of support.

Obama and Polish leaders will also meet with representatives from other eastern European countries this week in a bid to soothe tensions after Russia's annexation of Crimea.

The president will also give an address marking the 25th anniversary of Poland's first post-communist elections and meet with American airmen dispatched to a Polish air base after the Russian incursion into Ukraine.

"We have a broad agenda to work with them to stabilize the economy, to provide significant assistance as they seek to re-establish stability and growth within Ukraine and also of course to support their efforts to reduce tensions," said deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes of the administration’s approach to Ukraine.