Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman said that the US delegation had arrived in Ukraine to take part in the country's Independence Day celebrations. That same day, media reports emerged that Mattis arrived in Iraq for an unannounced visit.
KIEV (Sputnik) — On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Sputnik that Mattis would visit Ukraine on August 24, the country's Independence Day, and hold meetings with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak. On Saturday, the press service of the Ukrainian President's office confirmed the agenda of the upcoming meeting.
"Today, on August 22… The arrival of the US delegation headed by Defense Secretary James Mattis to Ukraine was reported… [We] would like to additionally state that the US delegation will be in Ukraine on August 23-24, 2017," the ministry said in a statement.
In an interview with Sputnik, the director of the Ukrainian Institute of Political Analysis and Management Ruslan Bortnik said that Mr. Mattis' visit will be a show of US support for Kiev.
The Pentagon chief will also see how the Ukrainian authorities dispose of the money Washington has lined up to bolster the Ukrainian military.
Ruslan Bortnik also said that he didn't expect any serious agreements between the US and Ukraine during Mr. Mattis' visit to Kiev.
Earlier, Ukraine's Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said many of the 4,500 Ukrainian soldiers who will take part in the Independence Day parade in Kiev had taken part in the military operation in Donbass.