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If Russia demonstrates that it’s genuinely willing to negotiate, we’ll certainly be there – Blinken

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If Russia demonstrates that it’s genuinely willing to negotiate, we’ll certainly be there – Blinken

The United States has a plan to help Ukraine become a successful country militarily, economically and democratically and will support Ukraine in the long term. At the same time, if Russia demonstrates a sincere desire to negotiate, the United States will „certainly be there.“

Source: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a conversation with Borge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, at the meeting of Arab and European foreign ministers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, reported by the US Department of State website; Holos Ameryky (Voice of America)

Details: Blinken stressed that the United States managed to unite countries around the world to help Ukraine because of the understanding that Russia’s aggression is directed not only against Ukraine but also against the fundamental principles of the world order.

Nevertheless, Blinken noted that the end of the war depends on the will and decision of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. 

Quote from Blinken: „We were able to bring so many countries together, not just in Europe but beyond, because countries recognize that there was an aggression not only against Ukraine but against some of the foundational principles of the international system. And if we let that challenge go with impunity, then it was likely that we would have a world of more conflict, not less conflict.

Now, it’s an ongoing effort, an ongoing struggle, but the designs that Vladimir Putin had on Ukraine to begin with, to erase it from the map, to subsume it into Russia so that it no longer existed – that’s failed.  And we also have an alliance in Europe that’s stronger, that’s also larger than it was, and I think a plan to enable Ukraine to be a success over time – a strong country militarily, economically, democratically.“

More details: Meanwhile, the adoption of the National Security Supplemental in the United States, which will provide Ukraine with assistance totalling about US$61 billion, was a serious „practical and psychological boost to Ukrainians,“ as Blinken said.

This package, although delayed, is a demonstration of the US intentions to provide long-term support to Ukraine, despite Russian leader Putin’s expectations to wait out Ukraine’s Western partners.

Blinken described US cooperation with European and global partners to meet Ukraine’s immediate needs as an example of „burden sharing“, where partners have done even more than the United States.

Blinken also reiterated that the war in Ukraine was a „strategic debacle“ for Russia, as Russia is now weaker economically, militarily and diplomatically.

Quote from Blinken: „It’s [Russia’s] reoriented its economy in a way that is not sustainable.  It may work in the near term; it can’t be sustained in the long term.  And in the aggregate, Russia is weaker economically, it’s weaker militarily given the destruction of so many of its forces, and it is weaker diplomatically in much of the world – not all of it, but in much of it.“

More details: Blinken said that Ukrainians were more united than ever, including against Russia, „which was not the case before 2014.“ The North Atlantic Alliance has also become more cohesive, with Sweden and Finland joining the alliance, an event that was unimaginable just a few years ago.

At the same time, Europe has been able to get rid of its dependence on Russian energy resources in the two years since Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine began.

Blinken considers all this a huge strategic defeat for Russia: „In many ways Putin has precipitated many of the things he’s sought to prevent. I hope that there’s recognition of that.“

Detailing Ukraine’s long-term prospects, Blinken explained that more than 30 countries have either completed negotiations or will soon conclude negotiations on bilateral security commitments with Ukraine. This will lay the foundation for Ukraine’s ability to deter and defend itself against aggression in the future.

He said that despite the „difficult circumstances“ for Ukraine’s economy, there is a great deal of interest in Ukraine among private investors, and the US is facilitating the inflow of private investment into the country. Ukraine has been able to restore the flow of goods through the Black Sea and is now exporting more goods than before February 2022, which points to the likelihood of an economically strong Ukraine in the future.

Blinken also stressed that the start of accession talks with the European Union is the best impetus for the country’s democratic development.

However, Blinken believes that the end of the war „depends mostly on Vladimir Putin and what he decides“, taking into account all the factors: „All of that is the strongest possible answer to Putin, because it says that Ukraine will not only survive –  it can thrive going forward. So I hope that Mr. Putin gets the message and demonstrates a willingness to genuinely negotiate consistent with the basic principles that are at the heart of the international community and the UN Charter: sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence. If those are appropriately affirmed, there should be a resolution. 

And look, the minute that Russia demonstrates that it’s genuinely willing to negotiate, we’ll certainly be there, and I believe the Ukrainians will be there.“

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