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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy Met US State Sec Blinken. What Was Discussed
6 May, 2021
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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv, May 6, 2021 Office of the President of Ukraine
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv on May 6. They discussed, among other things, the forthcoming visit of the United States leader to Ukraine, Russian aggression, military cooperation and reforms.

Biden's visit to Ukraine

Zelenskyy said at a joint press conference after the meeting that he had invited US President Joe Biden to pay an official visit to Ukraine in 2021, the year of Ukraine's thirtieth anniversary of independence. But he does not yet know in what format this meeting can take place.

Blinken, for his part, assured that he would pass on Zelenskyy's invitation to Biden upon his return to the United States, and that the American delegation "would find a suitable time." But he clarified that it is difficult for Biden to travel abroad because of the pandemic: "He has been in the office for four months, but may soon be able to leave the country with visits."

Russian aggression

Blinken noted that despite the withdrawal of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, a lot of equipment and military still remain there.

"Russia can act aggressively in a very short time if it so decides. We are watching this very closely… I really appreciate how Ukraine restrained Russia in the face of such provocative actions," said the Secretary of State, stressing that the United States and its partners are working to ensure that Ukraine can protect itself from Russia.

Zelenskyy also noted the extremely slow decline of the Russian military contingent along the borders with Ukraine and in the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbas. He estimates the figure at 75,000 Russian troops.

Security issues in the Black Sea and Azov regions were also touched on during the meeting. Zelenskyy announced a "great fundamental idea," but has not yet revealed its details.

Reforms

At the press conference, Blinken stressed the importance of fighting corruption in Ukraine and carrying out reforms. He believes that both Russia, as well as oligarchs and people who "pursue their own narrow interests illegally and at the expense of the people of Ukraine" are trying to oppose this.

Nord Stream-2

The President noted the unity of positions of Kyiv and Washington on the construction of the Russian gas pipeline.

"I know that there are different positions on this issue, and in Europe, unfortunately, they sometimes do not coincide with the position of Ukraine. But we are united on this issue with the United States," Zelenskyy said at the news conference.

READ MORE: The US May Place New Sanctions on Nord Stream 2

What preceded the visit?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on May 6. In addition to the president, he also met with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and parliamentary faction leaders.

Kyiv became the first European capital to be visited by the US Secretary of State on a full-fledged bilateral visit.

The working trip was officially announced at the State Department on April 30, a week after Russia announced that it was gradually withdrawing its troops from Ukraine's borders, where they had allegedly gathered for military exercises.