Biden cuts trip short to meet with Ukraine leader

JOSH LEDERMAN
March 9, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is cutting short his trip to Latin America to attend a meeting that President Barack Obama is holding Wednesday with Ukraine's new prime minister.

Biden is arriving Sunday in Chile to attend Michelle Bachelet's swearing-in as Chile's president. His next stop was supposed to be the Dominican Republic, where Biden had a meeting scheduled with President Danilo Medina.

But the White House says Biden has canceled that stop, although he plans to reschedule.

An aide to Biden says the vice president will return to Washington on Tuesday to join Obama's meeting with Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the White House Wednesday. The aide wasn't authorized to discuss Biden's plans by name and demanded anonymity.

The meeting is intended to demonstrate U.S. support for Ukraine's new government.

Earlier Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said Obam's meeting with Yatsenyuk was intended to demonstrate U.S. support for Ukraine.

Blinken said the White House strategy is to mobilize the international community behind Ukraine, isolate Russia for its actions and reassure U.S. allies and partners.

Obama is in Key Largo, Florida, with his family for the weekend, but on Saturday spoke individually with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French President Francois Hollande collectively with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The three Baltic nations are former Soviet republics that are now NATO members.

Blinken made his comments on NBC television's "Meet the Press."