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John Kerry arrives in Kiev to discuss deescalation in eastern Ukraine

February 05, 2015, 2:57 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
The US secretary of state plans to meet with Ukraine’s president, prime minister, foreign minister and Ukrainian lawmakers
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© EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

WASHINGTON, February 5. /TASS/. US Secretary of State John Kerry is beginning his official visit to Kiev on Thursday to discuss the pace of economic reforms and ways to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine with Ukraine’s top officials.

The US secretary of state plans to meet with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Ukrainian lawmakers.

Some details of Kerry’s visit to Ukraine were revealed at a recent regular briefing by US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki. She said the Secretary of State had been in Ukraine a year ago. "I expect he’ll talk with them about the progress they /the Ukrainians -TASS have made and needs to continue to make over the coming months," she said. "He’ll meet, as I mentioned, with a range of officials and also talk about how we can continue to work together to de-escalate the situation on the ground."

Kerry’s visit is taking place on the backdrop of the aggravation of the conflict between Ukraine’s army and self-defense forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DRP and LPR) and media reports about the Barack Obama administration’s looking at supplying Kiev with lethal weapons.

The New York Times newspaper said on Sunday the Unites States considered supplying arms to Ukrainian forces. NATO’s military commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, now supports providing defensive weapons and equipment to Kiev’s beleaguered forces, and an array of administration and military officials appear to be edging toward that position, the newspaper said. "President Obama has made no decisions on providing such lethal assistance. But after a series of striking reversals that Ukraine’s forces have suffered in recent weeks, the Obama administration is taking a fresh look at the question of military aid," the New York Times said.

Later on, Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, told CNN that sending lethal aid to Ukraine was no solution to the aggravating situation in Ukraine. "We don't think the answer to the crisis in Ukraine is simply to inject more weapons and get into that type of tit-for-tat with Russia," he said.

Jen Psaki however told a briefing on Tuesday she wouldn’t predict whether the United States would ultimately decide to supply arms to the Ukrainian army. "This is an ongoing process and we’ve not taken things on or off the table, as I mentioned yesterday, but I’m not making a prediction of anything else," she said. She refrained from making any predictions whether Kerry would raise this issue in Kiev.

When asked if by any chance Kerry could have a meeting with DPR and LPR representatives, Psaki said, "We don’t have any plans for that, no.".

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