"Kyiv may be the most popular destination in the world right now," Blinken said at the beginning of a meeting with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, livestreamed by Channel 24, Ukrinform reports.
The U.S. Secretary of State noted that there were some 100,000 Russian soldiers near Ukraine’s borders, posing an unprecedented threat to Ukraine.
Blinken added that he had arrived in Ukraine at the request of U.S. President Joe Biden to underscore U.S. support for the Ukrainian people. He emphasized that "now as ever it is up to Ukrainians and no one else to decide their own future and the future of this country".
The Secretary of State also called the purpose of his visit to Kyiv to discuss the results of last week of U.S.-Russia diplomatic talks and issues before his meeting with the Russian foreign minister on January 21.
“Across all of our engagements, we have made clear the clear preference for finding a diplomatic resolution to the conflict and to de-escalate the situation. That is the clear preference. At the same time, we’ve made it very clear to Moscow that if it chooses to renew aggression against Ukraine, it will mean that it will face very severe consequences – and again, that’s coming not just from the United States but from countries across Europe and beyond,” Blinken stressed.
According to him, meetings today in Kyiv and tomorrow in Berlin with European partners are aimed at assuring that “we are speaking clearly and with one voice to Moscow.”
“Our strength depends on preserving our unity. I think one of Moscow’s longstanding goals has been to try to sow divisions between and within countries, and quite simply we cannot and will not let them do that. So our message to all of our friends here and to all of Ukraine’s global leaders, to its citizens alike, is to stick together and to hold on to that unity, to strengthen it. It’s never been more important, particularly as the country faces the possibility of renewed Russian aggression,” the U.S. Secretary of State said.
Today, January 19, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to "reaffirm the United States' commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
On January 20, Blinken will travel to Berlin to discuss recent diplomatic contacts with Russia and joint efforts to curb further Russian aggression against Ukraine.
On January 21, Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.
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