Blinken Meets Zelenskyy in Kiev
Jan. 19, 2022 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kiev today, “as part of our close and continued coordination with Ukraine” following last week’s U.S.-Russia, NATO-Russia and OSCE-Russia meetings.
“In light of Russia’s ongoing and unprovoked military build-up in and around Ukraine, Secretary Blinken emphasized again that if Russia chooses the path of further aggression against Ukraine, the United States, together with our Allies and partners, will impose crippling costs on Russia’s economy, reinforce NATO’s presence in frontline Allied states, and increase defensive assistance to Ukraine above and beyond what we are already providing,”
the State Department readout reported.
In public remarks before their meeting, Zelenskyy “emphasized the ‘constant contacts’ between the two sides (“there are really a lot of them,” he said). He thanked the U.S. for ongoing concrete support and then restated the provocative intention of joining NATO: “This support speaks not only about our strategic plans for Ukraine’s accession to the Alliance, but most importantly, I think, about the level of our army, the provisions for our army.”
Blinken responded by saying that President Joe Biden had sent him to Kiev, first, “to affirm that now as ever it is up to Ukrainians and no one else to decide their own future and the future of this country ... and to underscore once again our commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity, to its sovereignty, to its independence.” Second, to discuss last week’s intense diplomacy with Russia, and to “coordinate on the next steps, including my meeting on Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. Blinken said that if Russia doesn’t de-escalate and diplomacy fails, “it will mean that it will face very severe consequences—and again, that’s coming not just from the United States but from countries across Europe and beyond.”