US Vice President Biden to visit Poland and Lithuania to discuss steps over Ukrainian crisis
March 17, 2014
US Vice President Joe Biden
US Vice President Joe Biden is traveling to Poland and Lithuania this week to show his country’s support for NATO partners amid increasing tensions with Russia over nearby Ukraine, the White House said on Friday.
The visit follows the Moscow-backed Sunday's referendum in Crimea about whether to split off from Ukraine and possibly join the Russian Federation.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had earlier said that the US would not recognize the outcome of the referendum. He said that would amount to an “annexation of Crimea” by Moscow, NBC reported.
Biden’s trip begins March 18 in Warsaw where he will meet with President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Then he will go to Lithuania, where he will meet with the presidents of the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Biden will be in the region from Monday through Wednesday.
"During his meetings, the vice president will consult on steps to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and affirm our collective defense commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty and our enduring support for all of our allies and partners in Europe," the White House said in a statement.
Meanwhile six out of twelve planned F-16 jet fighters arrived from the US at the £ask air force base, central Poland, on Thursday to take part in a military exercise. The US also sent six fighter jets to Lithuania last week.