US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Washington and its allies remain steadfast in their support for Ukraine against Russian aggression, despite doubts over future aid and stability on the ground. .
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“Some doubt whether the United States and other NATO allies will in fact continue to stand with Ukraine as we enter the second winter of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s brutality,” Blinken said.
“But the answer here today in NATO is clear and it is unwavering. We must and will continue to support Ukraine.”
There are fears that the lack of sufficient support from the West – at a time when it is interrupted by the Israel-Hamas war – may force Kyiv to seek a compromise with Putin from a position of weakness.
The NATO Alliance is united.
We covered a lot of things during the Foreign Ministers Meeting – from our expectations for the Washington Summit next year, to ways we can deepen our partnership with Ukraine, to how we can help support the Euro-Atlantic future of the Western Balkans. pic.twitter.com/bG3p9E8epA
– Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 29, 2023
Western officials insist they remain committed and are not forcing Kyiv to negotiate with Moscow despite Ukraine’s top general admitting the fighting has reached a bloody stalemate.
Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Wednesday it would not “back down” in its fight against Russia, despite doubts about US support and little progress on the front line.
“We have to keep going, we have to keep fighting. Ukraine will not back down,” Ukraine’s top diplomat Dmytro Kuleba told NATO supporters in Kyiv in Brussels.
“Our strategic goal, which is territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders of 1991, remains unchanged,” he said.
“The issue here is not only the security of Ukraine it is the security and safety of the entire Euro-Atlantic space.”
Opposition from hard-line Republicans in the US Congress has stalled a new $60-billion aid package and called into question the future of aid in Washington.
“Hopefully the US Congress will also find a solution that is in the best interest of the American people to actually support Israel and Ukraine,” Kuleba said.
“Because you know, the best way to avoid sending your own soldiers to war is to help another country fight its own war.”
Ukraine is pushing to join NATO to ensure that it is covered by the US-led alliance’s protection umbrella.
NATO has promised Kyiv will join one day but has declined to issue a formal invitation to a summit this summer amid fears from major powers the United States and Germany that members of Ukraine may drag them into the war with Moscow.
NATO members made recommendations on Wednesday about reforms – military and political – to be carried out in Kyiv aimed at helping it move closer to eventual membership in the alliance.
FRANCE 24’s Dave Keating on Blinken’s remarks on Ukraine at the NATO summit
Kuleba said that due to the great support of the West during the war Ukraine has become “a de facto NATO army in terms of our technical capacity, management methods and principles”.
“Defending Europe without Ukraine is a futile task,” he said.
“You can’t do it for one simple reason – we now have the strongest and most powerful army in Europe.”
Kuleba pushed back against any suggestion that his country would have to cede any territory occupied by Moscow in order to gain NATO membership.
“Anyway it’s easy to advise others to stop and make concessions,” Kuleba said.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has warned that Moscow is amassing a “huge missile stockpile” to bomb infrastructure in Ukraine during the winter.
But he insists that the Kremlin’s war against its neighbor is a failure that has made Russia weaker, more isolated and more dependent on China.
“Moscow has mortgaged its future to Beijing,” Stoltenberg said.