U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry begins a trip to Europe and the Middle East but will not be stopping in Ukraine.
His first stop will be a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, where Afghanistan tops the agenda.
In a change of plans, however, the U.S. State Department said Kerry will not attend the 20th ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Kyiv on December 5-6 due to "scheduling issues."
Instead, Kerry will stop in Moldova to recognize the "important reform steps" it has taken in recent years.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined to comment on questions about whether Kerry was boycotting the OSCE gathering because of the Ukrainian government's decision not to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union last week.
Kerry is also due to make stops in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Based on reporting by dpa and AFP