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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on issues related to defense assistance, financial support, and the security guarantees Ukraine needs after being militarily overrun by Russia.
These were the central issues of Zelensky’s meeting with Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Kyiv on Sunday, the Ukrainian president’s press service reported on Monday.
Zelensky handed over to the American side an action plan for strengthening sanctions against the Russian Federation drafted by the international group of experts Yermak-McFaul, which was created on the initiative of the Ukrainian president himself.
In particular, this plan proposes the extension of sanctions against Russia to include oil and gas, transport, new bans in the financial area, and further restrictions on the activity of Russian state-owned enterprises.
It further suggests recognizing Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“We appreciate the unprecedented U.S. assistance to Ukraine. I would like to thank President Biden personally and on behalf of all Ukrainian people for his leadership in supporting Ukraine, for his clear personal position,” Zelensky said.
He also thanked the “American people, as well as the Congress for their bicameral and bipartisan support. We see it. We feel it.”
The head of state noted that the $3.4 billion support already provided by the United States is the largest contribution to strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities.
According to the president, “this assistance has already helped bring Ukraine’s defense capabilities to a qualitatively new level, which is extremely important for Ukrainian troops defending the homeland at the front.”
The note explains that the meeting paid special attention to the sanctions policy, which should be further strengthened and become a valuable element of influence on the aggressor.
“We understand what should be the next steps on this path. And we count on the support of our partners,” Zelensky added in the statement.
Discussing ways to increase financial support to Ukraine, both to promote the economy and to rebuild the country, the Ukrainian president noted the need to expand opportunities for Ukrainian products to reach the U.S. market.
The sides also discussed the peace process and prospects for strengthening the antiwar coalition. Ukraine sees the United States as a leader of the future guarantors of our country’s security, he stressed.