Kerry to meet key Ukrainian opposition leaders on Saturday, Russia calls it ‘circus’

Kerry to meet key Ukrainian opposition leaders on Saturday, Russia calls it ‘circus’

WASHGINTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet key Ukrainian opposition leaders on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich‚ Germany on Saturday, a senior US State Department official confirmed.

The official said that the United States is optimistic about the outcome of negotiations between the government and the opposition in Ukraine.

“There’s the question of whether they can move on to form a government of national unity. So they’re coming to Munich in the middle of this negotiating process on what the political compact might look like going forward,” the official said.

Those Ukrainian opposition leaders who are expected to hold talks with Kerry are Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) leader and world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, and Fatherland Party leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Meanwhile, Russia slammed US Secretary of State’s planned meeting with Ukrainian opposition leaders as its deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin called Kerry’s meeting with the major figures of the opposition in the eastern European country a “circus.”

“It’s also necessary to involve Verka Serdyuchka in the talks,” he tweeted on Friday, referring to a popular Ukrainian drag queen character.

“Her/his authoritative opinion should be heard by the White House and taken into account,” he said sarcastically.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news conference after talks with European Union leaders in Brussels that the political crisis in Ukraine should be solved without foreign interference. He said that that Moscow believes that meddling in Ukraine’s domestic affairs is unacceptable.

Ukraine has been rocked by anti-government protests after Yanukovych refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) at the third Eastern Partnership Summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on November 29 last year in favor of closer ties with Russia.

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Kiev refused to sign the agreement after the EU leaders called on Ukraine to allow jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to travel overseas for medical treatment.

Later, Ukraine and Russia reached a strategic economic and trade deal in December, which provides Ukraine with significant discounts on imported Russian gas and billions of dollars in credit.

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