US Adviser Bolton Visits Ukraine, Touts Trump Meeting With Zelenskiy

August 28, 2019 Updated: August 28, 2019

KIEV, UkraineU.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton arrived in Kiev on Aug. 27 ahead of talks with comic-turned-president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, touting a possible meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and the new Ukrainian leader.

Bolton’s visit was the first by a senior U.S. official since Zelenskiy swept to power in Ukraine. Washington is a key ally for Kiev, having imposed sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea in 2014 and backing pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine’s east.

The pro-Western Zelenskiy, a television comedy star, scored a landslide election victory in the former Soviet republic in May and strengthened his power base at a parliamentary election in July.

“For me this is an opportunity to talk about some priorities we have and really also, because of the new administration here, to hear their priorities,” Bolton told reporters, adding that a meeting between Trump and Zelenskiy could happen soon.

“We expect to have a chance for the two of them to talk in Poland,” he said.

Trump is expected to travel to Poland and Denmark from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, the White House said in July.

Bolton—who will hold talks with Zelenskiy on Aug. 28, according to Interfax-Ukraine—also used a briefing with reporters to warn of what he said was the threat to countries of being lured into business deals with China by attractive financial terms and of becoming dependent on Chinese money.

“We call this debt diplomacy. It is a very serious problem,” he said.

Neighboring Belarus’s presidential office said on Aug. 27 that Bolton was due to travel to Belarus and to meet President Alexander Lukashenko. Minsk gave no date, but said the meeting would not be before Aug. 29.

By Pavel Polityuk