Secretary of State Mike Pompeo postponed a five-country trip scheduled to begin Friday in order to remain in Washington, D.C., following mass protests at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the State Department said.
Pompeo was set to visit Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus from January 3 to January 7. The trip was delayed "due to the need for the secretary to be in Washington, D.C., to continue monitoring the ongoing situation in Iraq and ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
The trip will be rescheduled "in the near future," she added.
During the stop in Kiev, Ukraine, Pompeo was set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and top members of his administration. The secretary of state would've been the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration to visit the country since the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Zelensky, which sparked the House's impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.
The president's dealings with Ukraine ultimately led to a historic, party-line vote in the House to impeach Mr. Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Pro-Iran militiamen and their supporters descended upon the U.S. embassy in Baghdad for a second day of demonstrations Wednesday. The mass protests followed U.S. airstrikes Sunday that killed 25 fighters of an Iran-backed Shiite militia in Iraq, which were in retaliation for the killing of an American contractor in a rocket attack blamed on the militia.
Mr. Trump blamed Iran for the attacks on the U.S. embassy and said Tehran would be "held fully responsible." Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday authorized the immediate deployment of roughly 750 troops to the Middle East in response to the events in Iraq.