President Barack Obama leaves the podium after speaking about the situation in Ukraine in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 6, 2014 (Photo: AP)
The United States said Monday that President Barack Obama's invitation to Ukraine's new prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk would recognize the responsible role played by the government in Kiev.
The White House also stressed that the result of the referendum planned by Crimea on the question of joining Russia would be viewed by the United States as illegitimate.
Obama will meet the Ukrainian prime minister at the White House on Wednesday, in what will be seen as a clear message to Russia, which views the interim government in Kiev as illegitimate.
"The president looks forward to the meeting, " said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
"I think it will reinforce the fact that the United States believes that the Ukrainian government has responsibly filled the vacuum left by the sudden, hasty and voluntary departure" of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
The self-declared leadership of the predominantly ethnic Russian peninsula of Crimea has proclaimed independence from Kiev and set a March 16 referendum on switching over to Kremlin rule.
But Carney dismissed the vote, after Obama last week warned it would violate international law.
"It will not be viewed by the United States as legitimate because it is inconsistent with the Ukrainian constitution, which makes clear that any change in Ukraine's borders has to be decided by all of Ukraine," said Carney.