Blinken Set to Arrive in Ukraine Amid Tensions With Russia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive in Kyiv, Ukraine, where on Thursday he’s scheduled to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba.
According to a State Department news release, Blinken will “underscore unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.”
“The United States is deeply concerned about Russia’s ongoing aggressive actions and rhetoric targeting Ukraine, including the increased Russian troop presence in occupied Crimea and around Ukraine’s borders,” the news release said.
It added that the U.S. “continues to monitor the situation closely.”
Late last month, senior American and European Union officials said roughly 150,000 Russian troops massed along the border of Ukraine and in Crimea.
Blinken is expected to restate that the U.S will not recognize Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. He was expected to call for its return to Ukraine.
He will also call on Russia to uphold its commitments under the Minsk agreements to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Since 2014, Russia has been supporting pro-Russian separatists in the eastern region of Donbas.
The State Department said Blinken will also encourage institutional reforms in Ukraine, which the State Department called “key to securing Ukraine’s democratic institutions, economic prosperity, and Euro-Atlantic future.”
Blinken will likely underscore the importance of American economic support for Ukraine.
“Since 2014, the United States has provided Ukraine more than $4.6 billion in total assistance, including security and non-security assistance,” according to the State Department.

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