US Secretary of State Pompeo postpones Ukraine trip to focus on Iraq

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was set to reaffirm US support for Ukraine on the highest-level US visit since President Donald Trump's impeachment.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was set to reaffirm US support for Ukraine on the highest-level US visit since President Donald Trump's impeachment.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday (Jan 1) postponed a trip to Ukraine so he could focus on the situation in Iraq after demonstrators attacked the United States embassy.

Supporters of Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups stormed the US embassy's perimeter and hurled rocks in two days of protests. They withdrew on Wednesday after Washington dispatched extra troops and threatened reprisals against Teheran.

Mr Pompeo postponed his trip to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus "due to the need for the Secretary to be in Washington, DC, to continue monitoring the ongoing situation in Iraq and ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East", State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

On Tuesday evening, Mr Pompeo told Fox News the Ukraine trip was still on.

He was set to reaffirm US support for Ukraine on the highest-level US visit since President Donald Trump's impeachment over his handling of relations with that country.