POLITICS: PennAve

Ukrainian prime minister to visit White House

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Russia,PennAve,Vladimir Putin,Meghashyam Mali,Foreign Policy,Ukraine,Crimea

Ukraine's interim prime minister will visit President Obama in Washington to discuss the crisis in Crimea, the White House announced on Sunday.

“President Obama will welcome Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine to the White House on March 12,” the White House said in a statement. “The visit will highlight the strong support of the United States for the people of Ukraine, who have demonstrated inspiring courage and resilience through recent times of crisis.

“The President and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk will discuss how to find a peaceful resolution to Russia’s ongoing military intervention in Crimea that would respect Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement continued. “They will also discuss support the international community can provide to help Ukraine confront its economic challenges, and the importance of uniting Ukraine and working to fulfill the aspirations of the Ukrainian people as they prepare for May presidential elections.”

Yatsenyuk's visit comes as Russian military forces remain in control of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Russian troops seized the region after Moscow-backed former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power after months of protests.

The pro-Russian government in Crimea has also announced plans to hold a referendum on leaving Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ignored calls from Obama and other world leaders to pull back his troops, meet with Ukraine's interim government, allow international monitors in Crimea, and prevent the referendum.

Obama has threatened that Russia will face “costs” for its actions and last week signed an order that would allow visa bans and sanctions targeting individuals determined to be “undermining democracy” in Ukraine.

The U.S. and international community is also offering aid to Ukraine to help stabilize its economy and ease its dependence on Russian energy.

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