US adviser Bolton visits Ukraine, touts Trump meeting with Zelenskiy

National Security Adviser of the United States John Bolton speaks to the press as US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, right, listens on at a memorial for those killed in the war against Russia-backed separatists in the Donbass region during ceremony in Kiev on Tuesday. — AFP

KIEV — US National Security Adviser John Bolton arrived in Kiev on Tuesday ahead of talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, touting a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and the new Ukrainian leader.

Bolton's visit was the first by a senior US 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 last month.

"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 last month.

Bolton - who will hold talks with Zelenskiy on Wednesday, 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 Tuesday 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 Thursday. — Reuters