The threat of the Russian Federation, corruption, Naftogaz. US Secretary of State Blinken meets with President Zelensky: key statements
On May 6, as part of his visit to Ukraine, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
NV cites their main statements after these negotiations.
Vladimir Zelensky’s statements
Gaps in the awareness of Biden’s team. This is my first meeting with the US Secretary of State, with Mrs. Nuland – but I feel that this is not the first meeting. The team is well-versed and knows all the details about the situation in Ukraine , about the situation in Donbass. … I am amazed. The team is well versed in what is happening with us. He knows all the details very well. And these are great advantages. Although in some issues these are also disadvantages.
Unity of positions on the issue of Nord Stream-2. We discussed the issue of Nord Stream 2, which is a very sensitive issue for Ukraine. And 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 on this issue we are united with the United States.
He invited Biden to Ukraine. This is a fundamental year for Ukrainians, the year of the 30th anniversary of independence, within which the [summit] of the Crimean Platform will be [held], an important platform for the de-occupation of our peninsula. I have invited the President of the United States and the Vice President .
Rejected the remark about “rollback of reforms”. To be honest, I think that you are not quite … I do not know how much you are … I am sorry if it is incorrect what I will tell you. I do not know how much you are guided by how many reforms were done before our team, and how many have been done now. … Therefore, I do not understand what a rollback is . Usually I only go forward.
75 thousand Russian soldiers on the border. We see so far 75 thousand people and equipment that we see today [Russian military at the borders of Ukraine], – Zelensky said. – We note – both our intelligence and our professional military – we see only 3.5 thousand soldiers who began to withdraw and left the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea peninsula. So far, nowhere else do we see a decrease in [strength]. We believe that this withdrawal is slow and therefore there may be a probable threat.
The prospect of a bilateral agreement between Ukraine and the United States. Separately, we discussed the format of fundamental support. We talked about the alliance and the question of a possible bilateral very serious agreement , but this is a question for the future. It is very difficult to talk about details now.
Safety in the Black and Azov Seas. We also discussed the issue of security in the Black Sea and Azov regions, and here we also see joint actions. We have one big fundamental idea … I won’t talk about it publicly with you. It is necessary that all parties agree on this idea, and then we will definitely tell the public about it.
Anthony Blinken’s statements
Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. We are watching very closely. We see that the largest number of Russian forces is concentrated on the border with Ukraine since 2014 . … Russia has withdrawn some of its troops, but significant forces remain on the border with Ukraine. Russia has withdrawn some equipment, but a significant amount of equipment remains on the border with Ukraine. Russia has the opportunity to act aggressively in a fairly short time if it decides to do so.
Restoring and developing partnerships. This is my first visit to say on behalf of President Biden how much we value our friendship and partnership with Ukraine. And I think that we are now on the path to rebuilding and developing this partnership .
Reply to Biden’s invitation to Ukraine. I am also grateful for the invitation that I will convey to President Biden as soon as I return. To visit Ukraine, to have the opportunity to meet with you, in particular after we had a very good discussion with you. We will find the appropriate time when we can come to Ukraine and spend time here. … it is quite difficult to come with visits ( due to the coronavirus pandemic – ed.). He ( Biden – ed.) Has been in the Office for four months. And, perhaps, in the near future he will be able to leave the country on a visit and return to Ukraine ( Joe Biden came to Ukraine when he was US Vice President – ed.) Whenever he can.
Two main challenges for Ukraine. We discussed in detail the issues of reforms and how important they are. Ukraine faces two challenges: from outside Russia and inside from corruption , oligarchs and others who put their interests above the interests of the Ukrainian people. These two elements are interrelated because Russia also uses corruption and people who will help it advance its interests against the interests of the Ukrainian people.
Corporate governance and management change in Naftogaz. There is also a threat from within: corruption, oligarchs and other persons who put their interests above the interests of the Ukrainian people. In this context, we talked about the importance of continuing to work towards corporate governance. This question is extremely important . In particular, this concerns Naftogaz, but not only him. This applies to the main institutions.