U.S.: To Win!

“Zelensky has the mindset that they want to win, and we have the mindset that we want to help them win.”

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Publisher’s Note:

The new Churchill of our times, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky – “I don’t need a ride. I need ammunition.” – a War Hero who stayed in Kyiv to fight and defend Ukraine, when globally we are used to seeing leaders cut and run, as in Kabul with their loot. President Zelensky’s singular act of bravery also honored Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg covenant of a Government “for” the people, when Mr. Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022 in a proxy war with US and NATO. The butchery in Bucha is grievous and the demolition of Mariupol breathtaking.

While belated, I acknowledge and celebrate the United States honoring the 1994 Budapest Memorandum during President Biden’s tenure, with Secretary Austin as our “point man” to redeem our binding pledge and keeping Ukraine’s sovereignty intact, and Secretary Blinken for restoring our full faith and confidence in democratic Ukraine’s survival by re-opening our embassy there and sending back our diplomats. it’s a functional equivalent of a “No Fly” zone imposed by US protecting every Ukrainian.

This moment in time – history being made – is driven by the bravery of the Ukrainian people, led by President Zelensky, that as a whole is reminiscent of Leonidas of Sparta, and these United States no longer treating the Budapest Memorandum merely as “a piece of paper,” but binding upon our sacred honor: Ukraine gave up her nukes and relied upon us to remain unmolested. A proud day for democracy. A proud day for Ukraine. A prouder day for America, and all our allies and even adversaries, as our word counts and aids in predictability. It’s time for Mr. Putin to end this unjust war that should never have been started, misled as he was about both his own troops’ capability and misjudging the brave Ukrainians as someone less than Leonidas.

April 25, 2022

Ravi Batra

 

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III paid an unannounced and secrecy-shrouded visit to Kyiv on 24 April and had a three-hour face-to-face meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.  Secretary of State and Defense Secretary stressed that the Ukrainian President is committed to winning his country’s fight against Russia. The United States will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to end the Russian aggression through diplomacy and dialogue. Underscoring US intensive diplomatic engagement, Secretary Blinken also relayed that U.S. diplomats will be returning to Ukraine this week.

“Secretary Austin and I just returned from Kyiv, where we went at the request of President Biden and the invitation of President Zelenskyy. We had an opportunity to demonstrate directly our strong support, our strong ongoing support for the Ukrainian Government and for the Ukrainian people.  This was, in our judgment, an important moment to be there, an important moment for Ukraine, for the war – an important moment to have face-to-face conversations in detail about the extraordinary support that we’ve provided: security, economic, humanitarian, as well as the massive pressure that we’ve been exerting on Russia, and then to talk in detail about how we carry that forward across all of those fronts,” Secretary Blinken said to journalists in a press conference in Southern Poland.

Meeting of the President of Ukraine with the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense

Defense Secretary said that the nature of the war in Ukraine had changed as Russia’s focus is now on the eastern industrial heartland of the Donbas.  Consequently, Ukraine has increased military needs, more tanks, artillery, and other munitions.

“And first of all, let me echo what Secretary Blinken has said in terms of the characterization of our meeting. I think it was a very productive meeting, very engaging session, and we were very happy to have that opportunity,” said Secretary Austin.

“So during the meeting, we expressed our deepest condolences to the president for the loss of so many civilians and, of course, the loss of those courageous troops that have done just a magnificent job of pushing back Russian forces. We also expressed our admiration for their professionalism and for their commitment to defend their democracy. Just it’s been extraordinary to watch, and I think everyone would agree with me there.”

The parties also discussed the peace process and prospects for strengthening the anti-war coalition. Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that Ukraine sees the United States as a leader among the future guarantors of his country’s security.

Secretary Blinken also said “that in terms of Russia’s war aims, Russia has already failed and Ukraine has already succeeded because the principal aim that President Putin brought to this, in his own words, was to fully subsume Ukraine back into Russia, to take away its sovereignty and independence, and that has not happened and clearly will not happen.”

Meeting of the President of Ukraine with the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin’s Travel to Ukraine

While in Kyiv, Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov, Head of Presidential Administration Andriy Yermak, Chief of Defense General Valeriy Zaluzhny, and Ambassador Oksana Markarova. They discussed America’s stalwart support for the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian people, including US significant assistance to Ukraine’s security, governance, economic, and humanitarian needs. Secretary Blinken also voiced renewed support for Ukraine’s efforts to end the Russian aggression through diplomacy and dialogue, noting that the US continued support will strengthen Ukraine’s hand on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.

“We had an opportunity as well to talk about where this goes from here, with the success that Ukraine has had. It’s also true that Russia continues to try to brutalize parts of the country, and the death and destruction that we continue to see is horrific. But Ukrainians are standing up, they’re standing strong, and they’re doing that with the support that we have coordinated from literally around the world,” stressed Secretary of State.

“The strategy that we’ve put in place – massive support for Ukraine, massive pressure against Russia, solidarity with more than 30 countries engaged in these efforts – is having real results. And we’re seeing that when it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding. Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate Ukraine – to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence.  That has failed. It’s sought to assert the power of its military and its economy.  We of course are seeing just the opposite – a military that is dramatically underperforming; an economy, as a result of sanctions, as a result of a mass exodus from Russia, that is in shambles. And it’s sought to divide the West and NATO; of course, we’re seeing exactly the opposite – an Alliance more divided[ii] than I’ve ever seen it and, indeed, new countries considering applying for membership,” he added.

Secretary Blinken informed President Zelenskyy that the United States intends to obligate more than $713 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Ukraine and 15 other Allied and partner nations in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkan region. This includes $650 million in funding provided by the Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022. More than $322 million in this obligation is for Ukraine and will provide support for the capabilities Ukraine needs as Russia’s forces train their focus on the Donbas; this assistance will also help Ukraine’s armed forces transition to more advanced weapons and air defense systems. This assistance will also help NATO Allies with backfilling capabilities they have donated to Ukraine from their own stockpiles.

Meeting of the President of Ukraine with the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense

Additionally, Secretary Blinken told President Zelenskyy that on April 24 the Department notified Congress of a Foreign Military Sale of up to $165 million for non-standard ammunition for Ukraine. Since the start of Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the United States has committed roughly $3.7 billion in security assistance and has provided more than $4.3 billion since the start of the Biden Administration.

“The bottom line is this. We don’t know how the rest of this war will unfold, but we do know that a sovereign, independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene. And our support for Ukraine going forward will continue.  It will continue until we see final success,” Blinken said.

“So our focus in the meeting was to talk about those things that would enable us to win the current fight and also build for tomorrow,” added Secretary Austin.

Secretary Austin also informed the Government of Ukraine that the U.S. Department of Defense will expand military training for Ukrainian service members in the region on certain weapons systems being provided. He highlighted U.S. efforts to accelerate the delivery of these weapons, which are now arriving within days of announcement. And he underscored that, along with allies and partners, the United States will continue to coordinate the shipment of additional heavy weaponry, ammunition, and spare parts from other nations.

Secretary Austin also previewed for Ukrainian leaders the agenda for this week’s Defense Consultative Meeting in Germany. Convened by the United States, the Consultative Meeting will examine the operational picture on the ground and review near-term Ukrainian defense needs, while providing attendees an opportunity to examine ways in which Ukraine’s longer term national security interests can be best met.

Both Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin shared their admiration for the everyday heroism exhibited by the Ukrainian people – whether the soldier on the frontlines, those who are ministering the wounded, sick, or vulnerable or the defiant grandmothers resisting Russian aggression. They noted that “the bravery of Ukrainians in defending freedom and democracy inspires us all and underscored our confidence that an even stronger Ukraine will emerge from this conflict.”

“I would say that, without putting words in his mouth, President Zelenskyy expressed deep appreciation for President Biden’s leadership and for the incredible generosity and support of the American people,” Secretary Blinken said. “In turn, we expressed deep admiration for his leadership, for the extraordinary courage of Ukrainians in standing up to and pushing back this Russian aggression.”

Ukraine appreciates the unprecedented U.S. assistance to Ukraine

At the beginning of the talks, Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed the importance of the visit of American high-ranking officials to Kyiv at this crucial and important moment for the Ukrainian state.

“We appreciate the unprecedented assistance of the United States to Ukraine. I would like to thank President Biden personally and on behalf of the entire Ukrainian people for his leadership in supporting Ukraine, for his personal clear position. To thank all the American people, as well as the Congress for their bicameral and bipartisan support. We see it. We feel it,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.

The President of Ukraine discussed with the United States delegation the current priorities for the belligerent state – defense assistance, strengthening sanctions on Russia, financial support for Ukraine and security guarantees.

The Ukrainian Head of State noted that the $ 3.4 billion in defense support already provided by the United States is the largest contribution to strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities. The President of Ukraine stressed that this assistance already helps in bringing Ukraine’s defense capabilities to a qualitatively new level, which is extremely important for our defenders who are defending their homeland on the frontline.

Particular attention was paid to the sanctions policy, which should be further strengthened and become an important element of influence on the aggressor. “We understand what the next steps on this track should be. And we count on the support of our partners,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, handing over to the American side the Action Plan to strengthen sanctions on the Russian Federation developed by the Yermak-McFaul international expert group.

Discussing ways to increase financial support for Ukraine, both to promote the economy and to further rebuild the country, the President of Ukraine stressed the importance of expanding the opportunities for Ukrainian goods to access the American market.

The U.S. diplomatic mission back in Ukraine

During their meeting, Secretary Blinken shared that President Biden will nominate Bridget Brink, currently the U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia, to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. If confirmed, Ambassador Brink will lead U.S. diplomatic mission in Ukraine with dedication and distinction. She previously served as Senior Advisor and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and Tbilisi, Georgia. Her decades of experience make her uniquely suited for this moment in Ukraine’s history.

Underscoring U.S. intensive diplomatic engagement, Secretary Blinken also relayed that American diplomat will be returning to Ukraine this week. The increased U.S. presence demonstrates the U.S. support for Ukraine and is part of its commitment to return American diplomats to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible. This action will strengthen the Department’s ongoing commitment to facilitating humanitarian relief efforts and the delivery of assistance to the Government of Ukraine while providing enhanced support to U.S. citizens.

 

 

 

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