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Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba Before Their Meeting


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  It is, as always, a great pleasure to have my colleague, my friend, Dmytro Kuleba, here as we start the NATO summit, a summit that will further strengthen Ukraine’s ties to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its path to membership.  We’ve done a lot of work in recent weeks and recent months on that, and I think you’ll see a very strong package emerge from the summit for Ukraine.

More broadly, we’ve been working closely together to make sure that as things move forward, Ukraine has what it needs to stand strongly on its own feet militarily, economically, democratically, and we’re on a very good pathway to do just that.  Ukraine’s success as a strong, independent, successful country is the best possible rebuke to the aggression that continues to be committed by Putin and Russia against Ukraine, including just 24 hours ago an attack on the largest children’s hospital in Kyiv, a hospital that I visited a couple of years ago when I was in Ukraine visiting the children, some of whom have been victims of the Russian aggression, others cancer patients, suffering other illnesses, being treated at this remarkable facility.

And it’s particularly despicable that we would see this attack on that hospital, but it just underscores the fact that the aggression continues.  Our commitment – and not just our commitment, the commitment of dozens of countries around the world to Ukraine and to its defense – that continues.  And our commitment to Ukraine’s success as a strong country, that continues and that will be manifested in very concrete ways over the next couple of days at the NATO summit.

FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA:  Thank you.  It’s always good to see you, and thank you for finding time.  We are hours away from the beginning of the NATO summit and we are hours away from the heinous attack, the missile attack conducted by Russia on Ukraine, including the most important children’s hospital in our country.  So I think that pretty much sets the agenda for our today’s meeting.

This attack, this attack on Ukraine’s future – because children are our future – shall not remain unresponded.  I am looking forward to our discussion on how we can further strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities.  Thank you for what already has been done and your personal role in rallying the world to ensure deliveries of necessary equipment to Ukraine.

I will not hide from the press that I will raise the point, bring up the point about possible U.S. assistance in rebuilding and re-equipping this hospital, because we need to relaunch it as soon as possible.  There’s children who they need daily – daily support, daily assistance, surgeries, other procedures and manipulations.  They have to – they have to continue.

And finally on NATO, we seem to be set before a very, very important gathering of leaders.  Thank you for working diligently on covering and reaching some very important agreements on air defense.  And so the assistance that NATO will be providing to Ukraine, this is all essential.  And I’m looking forward to continue – to continuing our partnership and friendship and cooperation.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, Dmytro.  Thanks, everyone.