United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has begun the first leg of a five-nation tour of eastern Europe and the Caucasus in Ukraine. A chartered flight carrying Clinton arrived in the Ukrainian capital Kiev in the early hours of Friday.
She will begin a busy schedule in the city by opening the U.S.-Ukrainian Strategic Partnership Commission, which envisages better cooperation on energy and trade, security and defense, and cultural exchanges.
Later in the day, the top U.S. diplomat will meet with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, as well as members of non-governmental groups and independent media leaders, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.
Clinton will deliver a speech at a town hall meeting at the Kiev Polytechnic University. She will also have talks with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who lost to Yanukovich in the presidential election.
Clinton’s trip – over the Fourth of July U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend – is seen as an opportunity for the Obama administration to get the U.S.-Ukraine relationship off to a new start.