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US delegation tells Ukrainians: Your fight is our fight

A high-level American delegation on January 30 for a visit designed to demonstrate US solidarity and support for Ukraine when Ukraine faces the threat of a full-scale Russian aggression. Arrived in Kiev.

The delegation was the Senior Director of the Atlantic Council Eurasia Center and was headed by former Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States John Herbst. He told Kiv, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Stephen Peifer, William Taylor, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Deputy Secretary-General NATO Alexander Burshbow, and former Supreme Allied Expeditionary Force Commander Philip Breed. Love, a former US Army European Lieutenant, has joined. General Ben Hodges, Senior Director of the Atlantic Council’s Europa-Center Benjamin Hadad and Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasian Center Melinda Herring. Their visit to the Ukrainian capital was organized by the Atlantic Council along with the Yalta European Strategy and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

The agenda of the delegation on a whirlwind-like two-day trip, including meetings with President Zelensky and other Ukrainian and government officials. The highlight of the visit was a roundtable in Kiev entitled “How to Support Ukraine and Stop the Kremlin Invasion”. With this event, delegation members and fellow participants from the world of Ukrainian politics, business and civil society are now triggered by Russia’s menacing military buildup in the north, east and south of Ukraine. We were able to exchange views on the security crisis in Ukraine.

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Marie Yovanovitch, who returned to Kiev for the first time since her controversial spring 2019 departure, was greeted by warm and voluntary applause from roundtable participants. In her opening remarks, she presented a compelling vision of why Ukraine’s struggle against Russia’s aggression is so important to the United States. “Ukraine is backing for national security interests. It’s wise and right. It’s another democracy in the face of an authoritarian and increasingly aggressive atmosphere. As a democracy in favor, it reflects who we are as Americans. “

Jovanović also warned that the current crisis caused by Russia’s military buildup at the Ukrainian border would have powerful and potentially dangerous impacts around the world. “It’s not just Russia’s problem,” she said. “If we don’t currently support Ukraine, we can expect more attacks elsewhere. Many other authoritarian regimes are monitoring and weighting Western reactions. Here in Ukraine. The result will shape the future of the wider world, so stakes can never be higher, not only for Ukraine but also for the United States. “

General Breedlab assembled the current conflict as Russian President Vladimir Putin reasserted Russia’s authority over Ukraine and attempted to reestablish Moscow’s Soviet territory throughout Eastern and Central Europe. I did. “This crisis was completely manufactured and devised by Putin to advance these two goals,” he commented. Breedlove also spoke openly about the need to avoid repeating the negative effects of inadequate response in the early cases of the Russian invasion in 2008 and 2014. Now is the time to get it right. ”

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With speculation about Putin’s true intentions to dominate the geopolitical agenda, many of the roundtables focused on Russia’s most likely next move. Former Ukrainian ambassador to Ukraine Stephen Paifer argued that Putin himself may still be considering his options, but it is time for the West to assume the worst. He said this was especially true given the apparent urgency of the Kremlin’s problem. “Russia feels that Ukraine is irreparably slipping down, and it is exactly Russia’s actions that are responsible for driving Ukrainians away.”

Former Russian ambassador Alexander Bershbow reiterated the idea that Putin had not yet made a final decision on the invasion. “Deterrence is still working,” Burshbow commented. “I think Putin, whether it’s a large-scale or small-scale aggression, is constrained by the direct costs of the aggression itself. He has physical losses, human losses, and the economy. The potential cost of the economy must be considered. The fact that Russians allow continued diplomacy is worth pursuing with the United States, which may pave the way for de-escalation. It suggests that you may be looking at some points of NATO’s response.

In his closing remarks, delegation leader John Herbst emphasizes exactly what is at stake for the United States and the wider international community, while presenting Russia’s current military threat to Ukraine in a broader historical context. I tried to confront. “Putin’s purpose goes beyond Ukraine. Your battle is ours,” he said. “Putin wants to rewrite the international security system. He wants to rewrite basic principles such as national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Peter Dickinson is the editor of the Ukraine Alert Service at the Atlantic Council.


The views expressed in the Ukraine Alert are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Atlantic Council, its staff, or its supporters.

The Eurasia Center Its mission is to strengthen transatlantic cooperation that promotes stability, democratic value and prosperity of the Eurasian continent, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the west to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the east.

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Image: Senior Director and Former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst (Kiev), Atlantic Council Eurasia Center



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