Kyiv, March 6, 2015. The United States consider providing Ukraine with defensive lethal weapons, but the final decision has not been made yet. Ukraine received $120 million of security assistance from the U.S. within 11 months of the conflict in the eastern part of the country, stated Anthony Blinken, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Only Russia and its proxies see a military solution to this crisis. We combine military assistance, diplomatic pressure and new sanctions in order to end the conflict and restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Mr. Blinken said.
Anthony Blinken stressed that pro-Russian militants do not comply with conditions of Minsk agreements aimed to settle the conflict peacefully. These are long-term ceasefire, access for the OSCE inspectors and the pull-back of heavy weapons. Ukraine, on the other hand, fulfils this peace plan and started the third stage of heavy weapons’ withdrawal.
“In democracies only their citizens have a right to decide the future of their country,” Mr. Blinken said. He reminded that the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia signed a Budapest memorandum to guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine in exchange for the latter’s nuclear disarmament. “Borders cannot be changed by force from the outside. It sets a terrible precedent for the whole world, especially when we work hard to convince Iran to drop the nuclear program,” Mr. Blinken said.
Anthony Blinken also emphasized that Russia will carry responsibility as long as its proxies are in eastern Ukraine, while Crimea remains an annexed territory. “Russia is in the recession already. The capital outflow from the country in the last year was $150 billion, while Russia’s credit ranking was degraded to a “junk” level,” Mr. Blinken noted.
As one of America’s top diplomats, Mr. Blinken positively commented on the reforms that the Ukrainian government has undertaken already, such as the creation ot the Anti-Corruption Bureau, strengthening the Prosecutor General’s office, as well as cleaning up and increasing transparency in the energy and banking sectors, and in public procurement.