The head of American diplomacy held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart.
“This visit will allow us to discuss Russian aggression with our Ukrainian partners, and to emphasize the importance of maintaining peace and implementing reforms,” Blinken tweeted upon arrival in Kyiv.
In an earlier statement, the State Department said that Blinken “will confirm the unwavering support of the United States for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.”
During the visit, Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, senior officials, and representatives of civil society.
However, he began his visit with talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
“I am here for a very simple reason – to strongly affirm, on behalf of President Biden, our commitment to the partnership between our countries, our commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Ukraine, and our willingness to work with you as you continue to strengthen your own democracy, build institutions, promote reform, and fight corruption,” Blinken said before the start of talks with Kuleba.
“We are partners in both areas, and I felt it was important to come as early as possible, announce this in person and continue the work that we have already started together,” the Secretary of State added.
Kuleba called Ukraine and the United States “two great democracies.”
“Well, the US is a little bigger,” he joked.
Russia’s behavior is expected to play an important role in these negotiations.
“We need to join forces to point out Russia’s behavior, hold it accountable for its actions, and demand that Moscow comply with its international obligations,” Blinken tweeted on the eve of leaving for Kyiv.
Blinken will be the highest-ranking US official to visit Kyiv since former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit in February 2020.
On Monday, the Secretary of State condemned the recent deployment of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine.
“We are carefully monitoring Russia’s actions and what course it will take,” Blinken told reporters in London. – President Biden has long been clear, including before he became president, that if Russia decides to act recklessly or aggressively, we will respond. However, we do not seek to escalate. We would prefer to have a more stable, more predictable relationship.”
While Biden administration officials emphasize their support for the Ukrainian government, they also demand that Kyiv complete reforms of the country’s notoriously corrupt political system.
In Kyiv, Blinken “will encourage further progress on Ukraine’s institutional reform agenda, particularly in the fight against corruption, which is key to protecting Ukraine’s democratic institutions, economic prosperity, and Euro – Atlantic future,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said. Blinken arrived in Ukraine after a meeting of the G7 foreign ministers in London, where some of the most pressing international issues were discussed.