U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev today.
Afterward Kuleba announced the results in these words:
I have had a very constructive meeting with Tony Blinken. There was a very frank–and this is the most important thing–confidential conversation between Tony Blinken and the President of Ukraine. He had a very good conversation with the Prime Minister of Ukraine. We have really agreed on several things that are important for Ukrainian security, important for Ukrainian reforms, and we will work on their implementation in the interests of Ukraine and the United States, and in general the Euro-Atlantic space as such.
Washington’s relationship with Ukraine has never been about the nation per se, never about the welfare of its people, but has been motivated by global geopolitical concerns, about power struggles in the Euro-Atlantic space; as NATO put it in 1992, “from Vancouver to Vladivostok.” Ukraine is a chessboard and Ukrainians are pawns to the 21st-century empire builders.
President Zelensky reported he and Blinken (he didn’t mention Nuland) had discussed the prospect of reaching a “very serious” bilateral agreement between their two nations.
Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak went into detail with Interfax-Ukraine about what Blinken assured Zelensky of during their interaction:
Today we received another confirmation of full support for Ukraine’s possible receipt of [a] NATO Membership Action Plan….The United States is our strategic partner and fully supports our entry into NATO.
He alluded to the possibility of Zelensky attending the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14 “within the framework of which it is planned to discuss Ukraine’s receipt of an Action Plan for joining the North Atlantic Alliance,” but could not confirm it at the moment.
Yermak also said Blinken and Zelensky discussed strenthening bilateral cooperation in the Black Sea, including on military matters, and their joint plan to sabotage the Russian-German Nordstream 2 gas pipeline.
His adviser Mykhailo Podoliak stated Blinken’s visit will accelerate Ukraine’s absorption into Euro-Atlantic structures, which means NATO and the European Union memberships. He told Interfax-Ukraine:
The current visit is thought out in such a way as to confirm the unconditional invariability of America’s support for Ukraine on different levels from the American side, and from the Ukrainian side to accelerate the processes of Ukraine’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.
Zelensky said of his meeting with Blinken and his State Department entourage (Nuland presumably included):
I am impressed that the American side is well versed in what is happening in our country, knows all the details, the situation in Donbas. I am grateful that we are supported and not only in words our sovereignty, our territorial integrity. Frankly speaking, many steps have been taken to stop the escalation that was recently along our borders, it could have occurred from temporarily occupied Donbas and our temporarily occupied Crimea peninsula.
Foreign Minister Zuleba said of U.S. officials, “we will continue to work with them to get our territories liberated….” How Washington is going to assist the Zelensky government to conquer the Donbass and evict Russia from Crimea–the only possible interpretation of his words–was not spelled out.
Blinken confirmed that Ukraine’s “Euro-Atlantic aspirations” were discussed in his meeting with Zelensky, and then grandstanded with “I can tell you, Mr. President, that we stand strongly with you.” He also decried “the threat Russia continues to pose to Ukraine.”
As though on cue, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg while speaking before a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on defense issues delivered this blistering, all-encompassing rebuke to Russia:
We will also discuss Russia, and the pattern of aggressive Russian behavior, from dangerous intelligence operations in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, but also the significant military build-up in and around Ukraine. We have seen some reduction in the number of Russian troops, but tens of thousands remain, and we are also seeing that Russia has kept a lot of weapons…and equipment, and they’re also imposing restrictions in the Black Sea, including restricting access to the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, and therefore NATO needs to stay vigilant and closely monitor the developments.
As the NATO summit approaches the U.S., NATO and the EU are closing ranks against Russia–with Ukraine as a pretext.