Do not let Moscow divide you, Blinken appeals to Ukrainians

"Ukrainians have to stick together, especially at this time. Don't let Moscow divide you," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ukrainians during a Wednesday press conference following his meeting with Ukraine's FM Dmytro Kuleba.

The US dignitary stressed that sowing divisions within Ukraine had long been Moscow’s goal. „Moscow has systematically tried to weaken Ukrainian democratic institutions and divide Ukrainian society,” he said in the wake of his meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and FM Kuleba.

“The Ukrainian people chose a democratic and European path in 1991,” Mr Blinken said, referring to Ukraine’s turn towards independence that came to the crumbling sound of the collapsing colossus of the Soviet Union in 1991. The US official went on to recall that Ukrainians “took to the Maidan to defend that choice in 2013, and unfortunately ever since you have faced relentless aggression from Moscow.”

Mr Blinken stressed the need for political leaders to set aside their differences and prioritise the national interest of Ukraine. He also did not avoid striking an honest and straightforward tone, saying that Ukrainians should batten down the hatches as “difficult days” might lay ahead.

“Our strength depends on preserving our unity and that includes unity within Ukraine,” he told President Zelensky earlier on the day. “I think one of Moscow’s long-standing goals has been to try to sow divisions between and within our countries and quite simply, we cannot and will not let them do that.”

US chips in to Ukraine’s military

Following the talks with Mr Blinken, President Zelensky thanked for the additional USD 200 mln (PLN 797.31 mln) earmarked for defensive military aid to Ukraine so that the country may maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“This [military] support not only speaks to our strategic plans of Ukraine joining the alliance but more importantly to the level of our military, our military supplies,” he said, referring to Kyiv’s desire to join NATO to Russia’s bitter displeasure.

“If we want dramatically fast steps in modernising the military, we need help especially in these tough times,” Mr Zelensky said and addressing Mr Blinken said: “Your visit is very important. It underlines once again your powerful support of our independence and sovereignty.”

The confirmation of the US financial boost for Ukraine came at the outset of Mr Blinken’s hastily tailored visit as US and western officials intensively reiterated dire warnings about a potential Russian invasion on the Eastern European country that has been trying to redefine its geopolitical position caught between the Russian sphere of military influence and prospects of NATO security guarantees.

Mr Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin was now in a position to carry out military action against Ukraine at his own behest and at very short notice with over 100,000 boots deployed right next to the country’s border with sights set for beefing the ranks even more. He said that number “could double on relatively short order,” but he did not provide details.