Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he presented a plan to tighten sanctions against Russia and discussed additional military aid with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Kyiv on Sunday .
Zelensky said the talks lasted more than three hours and described them as “reassuring and, what is also important, effective.
The President said the parties agreed on “new measures to strengthen the Ukrainian armed forces”, and discussed sanctions against Russia.
“We must block all Russian capabilities to circumvent sanctions. We have provided our partners with a plan to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation,” said Zelensky. He said the plan was devised by a group led by Andrey Yermak, Zelensky’s bureau chief, and former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.
Zelensky also said international security guarantees for Ukraine were discussed. “I am convinced that the United States can become the leader among the states that will be the future guarantors of Ukraine’s security,” he added. he said.
Blinken and Austin told reporters they had pledged additional military aid to Ukraine and continued diplomatic support. On Monday, President Joe Biden named Bridget Brink, currently US Ambassador to Slovakia, as the next Ambassador to Ukraine. There has not been a confirmed US ambassador to Ukraine since 2019.
The State Department said diplomats would return to the western Ukrainian city of Lvov this week before heading back to Kyiv. “as soon as possible.”
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the republics from the Donbass of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Minsk Protocol negotiated by Germany and France was designed to give breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.
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