Blinken visits Ukraine to show support amid Russian tensions | Joe Biden News

The US Secretary of State is expected to urge Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to stick to the path of reforms and the fight against corruption.

The senior US diplomat will travel to Kiev on Thursday to show his support after Russia massed troops near Ukraine’s eastern border in a weeks-long standoff that has raised concern in western countries.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and urge the country to stick to a reform and anti-corruption path, days after the sacking of a reformist energy official.

US President Joe Biden has pledged “Unwavering support” in Zelenskyy in April as Kiev and Moscow exchanged responsibility for clashes in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region and Russia deployed troops and weapons to the border.

Moscow announced a withdrawal of his forces on April 22, helping pave the way for a summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could take place as early as June.

This stalemate prompted Ukraine to ask the United States and Europe to help accelerate Kiev’s entry into the NATO military alliance. Blinken discussed the build-up of Russian troops at a meeting with NATO allies in Brussels last month, Reuters news agency reported.

Blinken’s visit to Kiev comes as Biden administration seeks to resolve tensions with Moscow ahead of potential summit meeting with Putin.

“We see this visit as an extremely strong signal of support from the United States in the fight against Russian hybrid aggression,” Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhenii Yenin said before Blinken’s arrival.

Blinken said on May 3 in London that he would use the visit to show “our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the Associated Press news agency reported. .

Other US officials have said he will push for institutional reform and anti-corruption measures. “There is a lot of work to be done to ensure a better future for all Ukrainians,” America’s top diplomat for Europe, Phillip Reeker, said last week.

Blinken will be joined by Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the department’s third-highest official. Nuland has long been a critic of Moscow and an advocate of Western support for Ukrainian reformers.

Washington is Kiev’s strongest supporter since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of the Donbass conflict between Ukrainian soldiers and Russian-backed separatist forces, which killed 14,000 people in seven years .

The relationship was tested in 2019 when then-US President Donald Trump asked Zelenskyy to investigate Biden and the Commercial activities of his son Hunter Biden in Ukraine. The Trump administration has temporarily frozen US security assistance in Kiev.

The fallout from those events, which led to Trump’s first impeachment trial in the U.S. Congress, continued into the past week. US federal agents raided the apartment and office of Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in connection with his activities in Ukraine.

Giuliani’s attorney said federal investigators were examining Giuliani’s role in force deletion of former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in 2019.

Yovanovich had campaigned against corruption in Ukraine during her tour as an ambassador, irritating businesses and government figures allied with the Kremlin.

During his visit this week, Blinken is expected to pressure the Zelenskyy government over the firing of Andriy Kobolyev as head of state-owned energy company Naftogaz, a post he had held since 2014.

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