While on an official visit to Finland, Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma conferred with U.S. secretary of state Warren Christopher February 8 before Christopher’s meeting with Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov in Helsinki. U.S. officials announced afterward that Kuchma had been invited on a working visit to the United States February 20-22, during which he will hold talks with President Bill Clinton and other U.S. officials as well as with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. U.S. officials also indicated that Clinton would pay a visit to Ukraine in April prior to the G-7 summit on nuclear safety and the Clinton-Yeltsin meeting, both scheduled for April in Moscow. The U.S. side praised Kuchma’s commitment to economic reform and stressed U.S. support for a free and independent Ukraine.
Following his meeting with Christopher, Kuchma commented on attempts in Moscow to reestablish dominance over the newly independent states. He said those attempts were "a hopeless road because it is impossible to reverse history. Everyone knows very well how many empires there were, all of which ended up in the same way." Kuchma defined full membership in the European Union as Ukraine’s primary foreign policy goal. (Western agencies, Interfax-Ukraine, February 9). The meeting and mutual invitations illustrate the increasingly close relations taking shape between Washington and Kiev.