Top U.S., Ukrainian diplomats meet amid tensions in Eastern Europe

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba talk at a news conference following the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Dialogue talks at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Leah Millis/Pool via AP)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba talk at a news conference following the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Dialogue talks at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Leah Millis/Pool via AP)

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UPDATED 8:50 AM PT – Friday, November 12, 2021

Top U.S. and Ukrainian officials met to discuss potential threats from Russia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity during a meeting with its foreign minister. He assured the U.S. is closely monitoring unusual Russian activity near Ukraine.

“The United States commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity is ironclad and that’s something that I said again to Dmytro (Kuleba) today,” said Blinken. “It’s a position that will not change. We stand with Ukraine.”

The two diplomats met Thursday to discuss mutual ties and the alleged movement of Russian troops near Ukrainian borders. Blinken said he commends Ukraine for its strength amid pressure from Russia.

“I commend our Ukrainian colleagues and partners for the remarkable strength, the restraint that they continue to demonstrate,” stated the U.S. Secretary of State. “Because if there are any provocations that we’re seeing, they’re coming from from Russia with these movements of forces that we see along Ukraine’s borders.”

Blinken suggested Russia may invade Ukraine in coming weeks, adding that would be a serious mistake.

“We do know its playbook and our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014 when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory, and did so claiming falsely that it was provoked, ” he explained.

The Ukrainian diplomat said these statements should prevent another escalation in its relations with Russia.

“And all of this is done not to provoke Russia, not to give it an excuse, but to deter,” stated Foreign Minister Kuleba. “To deter Russia and to demotivate it from taking…from resorting to further escalation.”

The talks come amid calls to deploy U.S. troops to Ukraine by some House Republicans who say Russia’s behavior has become more aggressive on Joe Biden’s watch.

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