Ukraine says now is time for Russia to withdraw after Biden-Putin summit

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during an interview in Kyiv, Ukraine, June 17, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during an interview in Kyiv, Ukraine, June 17, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KYIV, June 17 (Reuters) – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday he welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden’s tough messaging when he met President Vladimir Putin this week and said now was the time to make Russia withdraw from Ukraine.

In the first high-level Ukrainian government reaction since the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva on Wednesday, Kuleba told Reuters that the talks had not caused any concern for Kyiv.

“This summit demonstrated that America is back, and now it’s time to make Russia pull back from Ukraine,” Kuleba said in an interview, adding that Moscow has no power of veto over Ukraine’s accession to NATO.

Kyiv had been wary of the prospect of Biden and Putin cutting a deal about Ukraine’s future behind its back.

“President Putin saw… no invitation to bargain from the United States on the Ukrainian matter,” Kuleba said. “And this is a matter of principle because we agreed with the United States that no deals on Ukraine will be made without Ukraine, and America kept its promise.”

Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine are among a number of factors that have badly strained relations between Russia and the United States in recent years.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Reuters this week he had received reassurances from Biden that Ukraine would not be used as a bargaining tool. 

Zelenskiy has urged NATO members to accelerate Ukraine’s bid to join the alliance after a standoff with Moscow this year that saw Russia mass additional troops and military equipment near Ukraine’s borders.

The Kremlin said on Thursday that this would be a ‘red line’ for Russia. read more 

Kyiv has been frustrated by the apparent reluctance of some European members of NATO – keen not to antagonise Moscow – to admit Ukraine.

Even Biden, while pledging support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, told a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday that Ukraine must root out corruption and meet other criteria before it can join the alliance. 

Kuleba said Ukraine was stepping up its verbal pressure on NATO because it remains “in a security vacuum” even as it battles the Russian-backed separatists in its east.null

“We are not members of any security alliance… So yes, we are a nation desperately seeking security. And this prompts us to be active, to be pushy, if I may,” Kuleba added.

Biden will host Zelenskiy at the White House in July.Reporting by Sergiy Karazy and Margaryta Chornokondratenko; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Alexander Smith

2 comments

  • onlyfactsplease

    Mafia land could have withdrawn time again to save face but I think the time for that is long over. Mafia land has sunk too deeply into its homemade quagmire of lies. Shorty the high-heeled killer will have to be dead for that to happen.

    Liked by 4 people

  • Kuleba is a good guy, but he’s trying to play poker with a terrible hand. Of course it’s his job to try to improve Ukraine’s security position. But right now, all they can do is keep building up their armed forces, no matter what it costs. Sadly, they probably need to step up to spending 15% of GDP on defence for the foreseeable future.
    It seems clear that neither Nato nor the Budapest signatories are going to come to the rescue. Treachery is only to be expected from the frogs and krauts, but it’s almost unforgivable coming from the Budapest signatories.
    What Ukraine can do, beneath the radar, is try to work hard on the the most amenable neighbours. A coordinated, comprehensive security alliance consisting of Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Pribaltika, Georgia, Czechia, Moldova could be quite formidable.

    Liked by 1 person

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