Secretary of State Mike Pompeo won’t take a scheduled trip to Ukraine and other eastern European and Asian countries in January, the State Department said on Jan. 1.
Pompeo planned to travel to Ukraine on Jan. 3 to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky before going to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus and meet with leaders in those countries. Ukraine has been closely watched in recent months due to its being at the epicenter of the House Democrat-led impeachment of President Donald Trump.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that Pompeo “must postpone” his scheduled visits “due to the need for the Secretary to be in Washington, D.C., to continue monitoring the ongoing situation in Iraq and ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East.”
The trip will be rescheduled in the near future, she said.
Iran-backed militias and other Iraqis gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31, 2019, before breaching the compound’s outer walls, gaining access to restricted areas. The mob hurled rocks at the buildings, burned security posts and walls, and used a battering ram to inflict damage to doors and windows. They did not gain entry to the buildings.
Trump ordered about 100 Marines to deploy to the embassy from Kuwait and two Apache helicopters helped security forces keep the demonstrators from overrunning the compound.
The militias withdrew on Jan. 1.