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Ukraine's New President Due In Brussels For First Trip Abroad

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy

KYIV -- Ukraine's newly elected president is set to meet with European Union and NATO leaders during a visit to Brussels this week -- his first foreign trip since his inauguration last month.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy will hold talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on June 4 and attend a session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the Western military alliance's headquarters, the alliance said in a statement.

The NATO-Ukraine Commission is the key format for bilateral cooperation between Kyiv and the alliance.

The Ukrainian president will also meet with European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Polish President Andrzej Duda during his trip ending on June 5.

Zelenskiy's spokeswoman, Yulia Mendel, said that he will use the trip to reaffirm Ukraine's "course toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration."

A comedian with no political experience, Zelenskiy was inaugurated on May 20 after beating former President Petro Poroshenko by a large margin in the April 21 presidential runoff.

The country of 44 million faces deep-seated corruption, economic challenges, and the conflict with Russia-backed militants that has killed some 13,000 people in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk since April 2014, shortly after Russia seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

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