United States President Barack Obama is hosting the new Ukrainian prime minister at the White House on Wednesday, a high profile gesture aimed at cementing the West’s allegiance to Ukraine’s fledgling government.
The meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk comes as pro-Russian Crimean region in Ukraine readies for a referendum on Sunday to determine its future. Voters in the Crimean Peninsula will be given two options: becoming part of Russia or remaining in Ukraine with broader powers. The U.S. and Europe have declared the referendum illegitimate, saying Ukraine’s central government must be involved in decisions about its territory.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Mr. Yatsenyuk’s visit was meant to signal “that we strongly support Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian government.”