Pompeo postpones his trip to Ukraine amid tensions in Middle East

Pompeo postpones his trip to Ukraine amid tensions in Middle East

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign Overnight Defense: Panel approves 4.6B bill addressing border wall funds, Confederate name changes | Navy ship fire rages on Trump says he has no plans to speak with Chinese president MORE will delay a planned trip to Ukraine, where he was scheduled to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, amid ongoing tensions in the Middle East, including the storming of the U.S. embassy in Iraq by protestors this week.

"Secretary Pompeo must postpone his visit to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus due to the need for the Secretary to be in Washington, D.C., to continue monitoring the ongoing situation in Iraq and ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement obtained by CNN.

"Secretary Pompeo's trip will be rescheduled in the near future and he looks forward to the visit at that time,” she added.


Unrest near the Baghdad embassy has somewhat subsided, according to the State Department, but there are still ongoing efforts to clear demonstrators, whom the U.S. has claimed are members of Iranian-backed militias, from the area.

"As of Wednesday evening, most individuals have left the immediate area," another State spokesperson said, according to CNN. "Though the situation around the Embassy perimeter has calmed significantly, post-security posture remains heightened."

The militia, Kataib Hezbollah, told CNN it had asked its supporters to withdraw from around the embassy now that “America should have received our message.” The protests began after a U.S. airstrike in Iraq and Syria, which Kataib Hezbollah said killed 25 people and the U.S. carried out in retaliation for a rocket attack that killed an American contractor. The militia has denied carrying out the rocket attack.

Despite the relative calm compared to earlier in the week, "due to militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice,” the State Department said in a statement on its website. “All future appointments are cancelled. U.S. citizens are advised to not approach the Embassy.”