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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Envoy to Kiev

KIEV -- Urging Ukraine to push ahead with reforms and pursue close integration with the West, the new U.S. ambassador presented his credentials to President Leonid Kuchma on Tuesday.

"1998 is a key year in Ukraine's transformation,'' Steven Karl Pifer said in prepared remarks, handing Kuchma a letter of credentials from U.S. President Bill Clinton at a ceremony in Kiev's ornate Mariinsky Palace.

"As Ukraine proceeds down the path of political and economic reform and strengthens its links to Europe, the United States will support Ukraine,'' Pifer said in Ukrainian.

Washington has pursued close ties with Ukraine since shortly after it gained independence from the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991.