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Blinken emphasizes long-term US security commitment to Ukraine in visit to Kyiv

by Nate Ostiller May 14, 2024 8:22 PM 3 min read
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers a speech at Kyiv Polytechnic University in Kyiv on May 14, 2024. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) 
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed America's long-term commitment to Ukraine's security during his visit to Kyiv on May 14.

Blinken's comments, which were captured at a press conference the Kyiv Independent attended, lacked concrete details but emphasized that "Ukraine can count on its partners for sustainable, long-term support."

The secretary arrived in Kyiv on a surprise visit earlier on May 14 in a trip reportedly designed to "send a strong signal of reassurance to the Ukrainians who are obviously in a very difficult moment."

Over 30 countries have joined the Group of Seven (G7) Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine so far. The U.K., Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Finland, and Latvia have already signed bilateral agreements with Kyiv.

Presidential Office head Andriy Yermak said that Ukraine aimed to complete a similar bilateral security agreement with the U.S. in May.

"Under our own ten-year agreement, the United States will support Ukraine's defense and security across a range of essential capabilities: from its air force to its air defense, from drones to demining," Blinken said in Kyiv on May 14.

"If Russia or anyone else were to attack Ukraine, we will work with Ukraine immediately at the highest levels to coordinate how to help you beat back the threat," he added.

Blinken also commented on Ukraine's relations with NATO, an alliance the country seeks to join.

"You have a lot to teach the alliance. NATO will be more secure with your military by our side."

While Blinken also did not offer a specific timeline for Ukraine's accession to NATO, he said that "we will take tangible steps to increase NATO's role in building a resilient, capable Ukrainian force, supporting its ongoing reforms, (and) better integrating Ukraine into the alliance" at an upcoming summit in July.

Countering claims often made by some opponents of U.S. aid for Ukraine in the Republican Party, Blinken said that there is a "plan" for Ukraine to be able to "stand strong on its own two feet militarily, economically, and democratically so that America’s support can transition to more sustainable levels."

"The Ukrainian people want the exact same thing. They do not want to have to rely on others to guarantee their security and prosperity," he said.

In the meantime, the U.S. will keep supplying Ukraine with the weapons it needs to defend itself, Blinken said.

"We know that time is of the essence. That's why just one minute after Congress approved our massive aid package, President (Joe) Biden sent ammunition, armed vehicles, missiles, and air defenses to Ukraine."

In the bigger picture, Blinken said, for Ukraine to improve its ability to have a self-sustaining defense infrastructure, domestic production capabilities will need to increase.

A strong economy that "not only survives but thrives" is a key part of this, he added.

Nonetheless, Ukraine will need to continue its efforts to "root out the scourge of corruption once and for all."

"Winning on the battlefield will prevent Ukraine from becoming part of Russia," Blinken said. "Winning the war against corruption will keep Ukraine from becoming like Russia."

"Ukraine's defenses against corruption have to be just as strong as its military defenses," Blinken said, but acknowledged that Ukraine has made considerable progress in its reforms.

Can new security agreements forge Ukraine’s path to victory?
In early 2024, Ukraine signed seven agreements with allied countries that span for the next decade, aiming to guarantee Ukraine’s security while negotiating NATO membership. According to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s diplomatic adviser, Ukraine is negotiating 10 more bilateral deals. The biggest…
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