WASHINGTON, D.C.: White House hopeful Hillary Clinton will meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko later this month, her campaign said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), hoping to contrast her pro-Kiev stance with Donald Trump’s embrace of neighboring Russia.
Officials said Clinton would meet the beleaguered Ukrainian leader, who has struggled to keep his country on track since Moscow annexed Crimea and ramped up support for separatists in the east of the country.
The Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state will hope the meeting, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, will burnish her foreign policy credentials.
She will also use the occasion to express solidarity with Ukraine — an implicit jab at Trump’s respect for Putin, whom Clinton has called “dangerous.”
Trump, her Republican rival for the White House, has been criticized for praising Putin and saying the Russian strongman is “far more” of a leader than US President Barack Obama.
Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday that both Clinton and Trump had been invited to meet Poroshenko, but so far only Clinton had confirmed.
On the margins of the UN meeting Clinton also will hold a more politically risky meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew a democratically elected government in 2013.
Under Sisi, the Egyptian authorities have cracked down hard on dissent, banning unauthorized protests and jailing hundreds of opponents.
Clinton aides point out that Egypt remains a key player in the Middle East, helping combat terrorism and providing a rare Arab partner for Israel.
The meeting recalls Clinton’s time as secretary of state, when she warned Obama about the risks of embracing an uprising against then-Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Obama instead chose to embrace the popular revolt, which was followed by years of unrest and strained relations with Cairo.
The Trump campaign denounced Clinton’s planned meetings, saying they “serve as a stark reminder of her failed leadership as America’s top diplomat.”
“Clinton’s failed reset with Russia gave way to an invasion and annexation of parts of Ukraine, while the pro-western government of Egypt was replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller.