U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has affirmed to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba Washington's support for Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration in the face of Russia's aggression.
"I met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba today to discuss unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We continue to support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea," Blinken tweeted following the meeting.
A statement released by a State Department spokesperson Ned Price says Blinken has affirmed the United States' unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia's ongling aggression.
"The Secretary expressed concern about Russia’s deliberate actions to escalate tensions with Ukraine, including through its aggressive rhetoric and disinformation, increasing ceasefire violations, and movement of troops in occupied Crimea and near Ukraine’s borders," the statement says.
As for Dmytro Kuleba, he took to Twitter to report on the meeting: "Good to be meeting my colleague and friend Sec[retary] Blinken in Brussels as Russia continues its dangerous buildup and belligerent rhetoric. We need to discourage Moscow from further escalation, including by making clear that the cost of any new military adventure would be too high.
Kuleba's Brussels visit
On April 13, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba is paying a working visit to NATO Headquarters in Brussels to take part in an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
Ahead of the visit to Brussels, Dmytro Kuleba said it was high time to speak of how practical support for Ukraine could look like in case Russia goes for a large-scale military escalation. He has called on partners to be aware that the situation may come to a stage where any statements, concerns voiced, and verbal calls for Russia would become drastically insufficient.
Some very "concrete" things will be discussed "with NATO Allies in Brussels, Kuleba said.
Russian troops amassing along Ukraine's borders
- On March 30, 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak said Russia had deployed 28 battalion tactical groups along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories. It is also said to be planning to bring up to 25 battalion tactical groups under the guise of preparing for military drills. Such actions pose a threat to Ukraine's military security.
- According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, enemy troops are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training. Russia-led forces' artillery units are reportedly on full alert in certain districts, including villages and towns in occupied Ukrainian territory.
- On March 31, 2021, The New York Times reported Russia was pulling 4,000 troops to the border with Ukraine.
- Footage was shared on the Internet, showing a train with Russian military hardware en route along the Kerch Strait bridge to occupied Crimea.
- The U.S. European Command raised its alert status to the highest level after fighting had resumed between Russia-led forces and Ukrainian troops in Donetsk region.
- The U.S. Department of Defense said it was "aware of Russian troop movements" on Ukraine's borders and was concerned about recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
- The United States, finding reports of Russian military movements on Ukraine's border credible, asked Moscow to explain the "provocations" and is ready to engage on the situation.
- On April 8, 2021, Khomchak assured the situation was under control, and the Ukrainian military was ready to respond to the escalation both in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk and Donetsk regions and along the entire Ukrainian-Russian border. He said, "We have foreseen appropriate measures of an immediate response to any provocation, to any enemy action."