The United States on Wednesday reiterated its support for Ukraine to access to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU), according to Xinhua.

    "The United States is committed to supporting Ukraine as it continues on the path to democracy and prosperity," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton after meeting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko in Washington.

    "We support Ukraine`s further integration with NATO and the European Union," she said.

    The top U.S. diplomat praised Ukraine for making important contributions to global peace and security, including contributions to international peacekeeping missions in from Kosovo to Liberia to Sudan, and contributions to the U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan.

    "A strong and independent Ukraine is good for the region and good for the world," said Clinton, adding that the United States and Ukraine, combined with strategic partnership, "can meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the 21st century."

    As to the Ukrainian presidential election, which is slated for Jan. 17 next year, Clinton said the United States hopes to see a free and fair presidential election and looks forward to working with the leaders chosen by the Ukrainian people.

    The United States officially recognized the independence of Ukraine in December 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

    The Orange Revolution in Ukraine has led to closer relations between Kiev and Washington.

    By signing the Charter on Strategic Partnership with Ukraine in December 2008, the United States vows to support Ukraine`s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its "Euro-Atlantic aspirations and integration into the institutions of the Euro-Atlantic."

    NATO has already expanded eastward, incorporating former Warsaw Pact countries, including Poland and Hungary.

    Russia has expressed strong objections to letting either Ukraine or Georgia join the military alliance. Both were major components of the former Soviet Union.