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

REMARKS
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
KYIV, UKRAINE

MAY 6, 2021

FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA:  It’s great to have you here (inaudible).  This is, I think, our fourth contact in a very short period of time, and I’m happy to welcome you here at this quintessential moment.  I also take this opportunity to congratulate Madam Nuland with her appointment.  I’ve been through many things on Maidan, but the only big moment I missed was your cookies. (Laughter.)  But I will be looking forward, and my team will be looking forward, to working with you closely on a wide range of issues.

I would like – while media is still present here, I would like to say just a couple of things.  First, the United States of America are Ukraine’s ally number one in security and defense, and everything that has been offered to Ukraine since 2014 is deeply appreciated not only by the government, but also by the people of Ukraine, and I want all to be fully aware of that appreciation.

Second, today, we will discuss a wide range of issues starting with security and defense reforms, economic cooperation, energy security, climate change.  There are many, many things which drive our relationship forward, and we will be looking forward to further deepening our cooperation.

And one big story that all of us have to be aware of is that Ukraine and the United States are two big democracies.  Well, the United States is a little bit bigger.  (Laughter.)  But we are a big democracy in this part of the world and we are eager to work with you on promoting the value – democratic values and human rights here, where they often face – in this region where they often face challenges.

So thank you for your visit and I’m looking forward to our discussion.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Dmytro, thank you very, very much.  It’s particularly good to see you, but to see you here.  As you said, we’ve had a lot of opportunity already to work together in the short time that we’ve been in office, but I was particularly pleased for the opportunity to come back to Ukraine.  I’ve had many opportunities in the past to be here, so it’s particularly good to be back to be able to work directly with you, with your team, and with others in the government.

I’m here for really a very simple reason, which is to, on behalf of President Biden, reaffirm strongly our commitment to the partnership between our countries, our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, our commitment to work with you as you continue to strengthen your own democracy, building institutions, advancing reforms, combating corruption.  We are partnered on both fronts, and I thought it was important, as early as possible, to come and say so in person and continue the work that we’ve already started together.  So thank you for receiving us today.  It’s very good to be here.