According to the State Secretary, many Americans ask the question why the Biden administration is so focused on Ukraine which is half a world away, what is so important about it. 

Antony Blinken gives the answer, “Of course, Ukraine matters in and of itself. We’ve been standing strongly over many years for its sovereignty, for its territorial integrity, for its independence. The formula you hear repeated endlessly. But it’s so bigger than Ukraine.”

Blinken pointed to one country, in this case Russia, which by its actions believes that it can change by force the borders of neighboring states, that it can decide for its neighbors what their decisions may be, with whom they may choose to associate. Not the people of those countries through their elected governments.

“This country is saying that it’s fine to have a sphere of influence where we can basically bend neighbors in our area to our will, not their own choices. And if we let that go with impunity then we open a huge Pandora’s box. Other autocratic countries around the world like Russia may say we are going to do this too. And that is a recipe for conflict. It’s a recipe for chaos. It’s a recipe for human suffering and it’s a recipe for undermining democracy,” State Secretary Antony Blinken said.

In his last minute interview before the flight to Ukraine on January 19, the head of American diplomacy said that he would visit Kyiv, Berlin and Geneva to discuss the building military tensions near the borders of Ukraine.

“I’m travelling to Kyiv and Berlin, where I will meet with our partners and allies, before meeting with my Russian counterpart in Geneva. This is a diplomatic effort to de-escalate tensions surrounding the unprovoked Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders,” Antony Blinken wrote in Twitter.

Before the arrival of his American counterpart in Kyiv, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba addressed Ukrainians, “Years of Russian aggression have taught us one thing that escalation is always accompanied by information tension build-up.  The goal is clear – to make us weaker from inside. That’s why I call on you don’t be fooled by information scary stories. Our army and diplomacy strongly protect Ukraine. The Ukrainians win with their passionate heart and the cold head.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during his meeting with the State Secretary, “Your visit is very important for us because it shows the United States’ powerful support for our independence and sovereignty.”

The Ukrainian president voiced hope that the United States would increase economic and financial aid.

During talks with President Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Kuleba, U.S. State Secretary Blinken said that President Biden had asked him to reaffirm to all Ukrainian people the support that the United States has for Ukraine. The State Secretary underscored that “ now as ever it is up to Ukrainians and no one else to decide their own future and the future of this country.” Blinken referred to the concentration of nearly 100 thousand Russian soldiers on the border with Ukraine as “an unprecedented threat to Ukraine.”

According to State Secretary Blinken, President Biden wanted him to tell Ukrainian colleagues about the week of intensive diplomacy with the Russians. “The President wanted me to come and have the opportunity to speak directly with all of our colleagues here about the week of intensive diplomacy that we just engaged in and completed with Russia, and to consult and coordinate on the next steps.”

The State Secretary went on to say, “Across all of our engagements, we have made it clear the clear preference for finding a diplomatic resolution to the conflict and to de-escalate the situation.  … 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… 

“Meetings like this one and the consultations that I’ll have tomorrow in Berlin with some of our other European partners are aimed at assuring that we are speaking clearly and with one voice to Moscow… 

“Moscow’s longstanding goal 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 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.”

Antony Blinken agreed with Dmytro Kuleba about severe lessons that Ukrainians had learned from years of Russian aggression.  Blinken emphasized that “together, as you’ve shown in recent years, there is no obstacle that Ukrainians with the support of so many friends around the world, including the United States, cannot overcome.”

However, despite the assurances voiced during the Blinken visit to Kyiv that the United States and Ukraine together with their Western allies will stand firm against the Kremlin’s aggressive plans, many analysts nevertheless speak with caution about a possibility that de-escalation around Ukraine can be reached by diplomatic ways.

For instance, while the delegation of American senators was visiting Kyiv one of these days the U.S. State Secretary expressed his misgivings that President Vladimir Putin could launch new acts of aggression against Ukraine “on short notice”.

On January 19, the Biden administration announced an additional $200 million in military aid for Ukraine, bolstering U.S. support for the country amid fears of a potential Russian invasion.

The newspaper Voice of Ukraine