U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will visit Ukraine on Jan. 15 to meet Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. His visit will come five days before the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

The last time that Biden came to Ukraine was in early December 2015. He met Ukrainian leadership and addressed the Verkhovna Rada, giving a passionate anti-corruption speech.

During his tenure, Biden has shown support for Ukraine in countering Russia’s ar. He has also regularly urged Ukrainian officials to proceed with reforms and crack down on corruption.

President Petro Poroshenko’s administration, in announcing Biden’s visit to Ukraine, did not reveal any details about the visit.

Political analyst Taras Berezovets told the Kyiv Post that Biden’s visit would have two main tasks: summarizing the cooperation between Poroshenko and Obama administrations, and instructing Ukraine’s leadership how to build relations with Trump’s team. Berezovets noted that Biden was one of only two recent U.S. vice presidents (the other being Al Gore) to devote a large amount of time to U.S. relations with Ukraine. He also said that Biden would meet Poroshenko behind closed doors, and details of most of their discussion won’t be made public.


The last high-level U.S. official to visit Ukraine was Republican U.S. Senator John McCain, who came in December, a year after Biden, and spent New Year’s Eve in Ukraine’s eastern war zone with President Petro Poroshenko. After visiting a military base in Shyrokyne, a town in Donetsk Oblast 800 kilometers southwest from Kyiv, McCain said that “in 2017 we will defeat the invaders and send them back where they came from.”

“To Vladimir Putin – you will never defeat the Ukrainian people and deprive them of their independence and freedom,” McCain said.

While Biden’s visit to Ukraine will be one of his last foreign trips as vice president, President Barack Obama is the first U.S. president not to visit Ukraine since it became independent in 1991.


President-elect Donald J. Trump had not been especially favored by Ukrainians due to his sympathy for the Russian president and allegations of Kremlin interference to help his victory in the Nov. 8 election. Trump himself made numerous statements throughout the election race that appeared to put Russia’s interests ahead of Ukraine’s.

After Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, Biden will be replaced by Mike Pence. During the vice presidential debates with U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, Pence blamed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s and Obama’s weak foreign policy for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kyiv Post staff writer Alyona Zhuk can be reached at [email protected]


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