Saturday, June 15, 2024

Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba Before Their Meeting

FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA:  I’m sorry for keeping the Secretary too long in the tête-à-tête meeting, but it’s always a great pleasure for me to talk and to go through all of the things.  There are so many things happening between two of our countries that it’s – there is never enough time.  So apologies to (inaudible), but put all the blame on me.

Yes, now we are having pleasantries, so it’s a big pleasure to have Secretary Blinken in Kyiv, and this is a very timely visit, because it sends a message of encouragement not only to the people of Ukraine but, most importantly, to the troops, to our soldiers who are heroically defending Ukraine in the south, in the east, in the east-northeast near Kharkiv, where Russia tries to expand the war zone.  We see with your presence in Kyiv that the United States stand by Ukraine, that support is coming, and that we will be able to endure any hardships that Russia will try to impose on us.

Thank you for being here, for the meaningful conversation on air defense, on delivery of the last drawdowns announced, and on a broader political agenda, including the peace summit that will be convened shortly upon the initiative of Ukraine and in partnership with Switzerland.  There are many things that we talked about.  We’re looking forward to discussing even more, and I would like to thank you, Secretary, for always being focused on achieving tangible results.  As diplomats, we are mainly trained to ensure sustainability of processes, but time – wartime diplomacy is different, and I appreciate that every conversation is – that we are having is result-oriented.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Dmytro, I’ve probably already spoken too much yesterday, and we – I know we have a press conference later, but I just want to say very quickly and simply how much I appreciate and value our own collaboration over these past now more than two years.  That’s been quite extraordinary under the most challenging circumstances, and the fact that you are such an effective representative for your country around the world is something I get a chance to see around the world almost every day.

Second, yes, I’m here in part as a show of support, but much more important than a trip or a visit is the fact that that support in very concrete terms is very much on the way.  And the President – President Biden – has been working to immediately push out all the assistance that comes with the passage of the supplemental, and that is quite literally on its way, because we know the urgency, the importance of making sure that the extraordinarily courageous Ukrainians who are on the front lines of the fight for freedom here – they need that support and they will be getting it.

I think importantly as well we’ve been talking over the last day about the immediate urgent needs and what – everything we’re doing with many other countries to fulfill them, but also Ukraine’s longer-term trajectory, and particularly everything that you’re doing, the government is doing, citizens of Ukraine are doing with support to build a Ukraine that will stand strongly on its own feet militarily, economically, democratically.  And that ultimately is going to be the best possible rebuke to Putin: a strong, successful, thriving Ukraine.

So we will get through the challenges of the moment and we will work together to continue to build that future that Ukrainians want and that Ukraine is such, I think, a powerful potential example of.  And the last thing I’ll say – and we’ll talk about this maybe more with the press later – just today I saw some extraordinary examples of Ukrainian innovation, ingenuity, entrepreneurship that are not only benefiting Ukrainians but actually will benefit people around the world.  Whether it’s in agriculture, whether it’s in technology, in so many other areas, Ukraine has a leading role to play.

So in all of those areas we’ll get through the challenges now through success on the battlefield and help build that Ukraine that everyone wants.  Thank you.

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