Russia has withdrawn some units from the border regions with Ukraine, but the Kremlin maintains an important military device in the area that can be reactivated and put into operation in a short time. Faced with this state of affairs, the US is considering increasing the military aid it provides to the Ukrainian government so that it can face the threat posed by its powerful neighbor to the east.
This is the message that the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, transmitted this Thursday during a visit to Kiev aimed at expressing the support of the Joe Biden Administration for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We call on Russia to cease its dangerous and aggressive actions ,” Blinken proclaimed together with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky . “We are aware that Russia has withdrawn certain forces from the border with Ukraine, but we see that it maintains significant forces and significant military equipment ,” he continued.
At his side, the Ukrainian head of state has endorsed his words, denouncing that the Russian withdrawal was being “slow” and that the danger of a Russian military operation “may still persist.”
The US Secretary of State has fully blamed the Kremlin for the lack of progress on a negotiated solution to the Donbas conflict. “Russia does not want to be part of the solution,” he denounced. At the same time, he praised the containment of the Kiev Army in the face of “provocations from Russia”. “Ukraine suffers casualties but does not respond,” he noted.
First visit to Eastern Europe
Biden has wanted Blinken’s first visit to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet bloc to be precisely to Ukraine, a country that has been facing a rebellion in the east of the country for years fueled by Russia and that has seen as its eastern neighbor, in 2014, a part of its territory was annexed: the Crimean peninsula .
The idea was precisely to convey a powerful message of support to a country that in recent weeks had once again experienced pressure from Russia, with a huge and disturbing military deployment in the regions close to the common border .
And certainly, neither Zelenski nor Blinken skimped on mutual praise. “I have come especially to express on behalf of President Biden how much we appreciate our friendship and our partnership with Ukraine,” said Blinken, before concluding: “We stand firmly by your side.”
Along with him, Zelensky has thanked the military aid provided to his country since 2014, when the government of the pro-Russian Victor Yanukovych was overthrown and the problems with Moscow started.
Congratulations aside, Blinken took advantage of the visit to remember the enormous work that the country still has to do if it wants to fulfill its goal of one day joining the Western bloc , especially in matters of corruption. Ukraine faces two challenges: “external forces like Russia but also internal forces like oligarchs and other powerful individuals who pursue their own interests by illegitimate means to the detriment of the interests of the Ukrainian people.”
The recent removal of Andryi Kobolyev from the head of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian state gas company, has been criticized by both the EU and the US. His efforts, aimed at increasing the company’s transparency, had been praised by Western investors.