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

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Bucharest, Romania

Palace of Parliament

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, hello, everyone.  It’s, as always, a great pleasure to be with my friend Dmytro Kuleba.  We had a very good session yesterday with the foreign minister – and all of our NATO colleagues – focused on the very resolute support for Ukraine from all of the countries represented here – support for Ukraine’s efforts to continue to deal with the Russian aggression, to defend its sovereignty, its independence, its territorial integrity, security support, economic support, humanitarian support.  And what is very clear to me from having spent the last two days with all of our colleagues is that that support remains strong, resolute, determined.  And that’s what I’ve heard from virtually everyone sitting at the table here at this NATO meeting.

Second, we had an opportunity, Dmytro, yesterday, together with a number of countries – G7 countries and others – to talk about the acute needs that Ukraine has now in terms of its own energy infrastructure.  Because President Putin is failing to defeat Ukraine militarily, he is now prosecuting war against its civilians, and he’s doing that by trying to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, to turn off the lights, to turn off the heat, to turn off the water so that civilians suffer.  And we heard directly from the foreign minister what conditions are like in Ukraine.

What I can also say is that there is a strong determination and conviction – again, among many, many countries – to help to make sure that we’re helping Ukraine defend its energy infrastructure and, as necessary, repair and replace what is being destroyed by the Russian aggression.

So there’s lots to talk about, as always.  I’d simply just add that what’s going on now in Ukraine that we’re seeing every day – this assault on the energy infrastructure, this assault against civilians in every corner of the country – is not normal and can’t be normalized.  And there needs to be an understanding of the brutalization of the country that is quite simply barbaric.

FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA:  Thank you for your words.  And I would like to special thank you for the leadership of the United States on two most acute issues: the supply weapons to Ukraine so that we are able to defeat Russia on the frontline, and also the provision of Ukraine’s energy needs, which are needed to protect our civilian population and live through the winter.

Yesterday, we heard a number of commitments – new commitments – from various NATO members with regards to providing Ukraine with more defensive weapons and energy equipment.  Secretary Blinken rightly emphasized the need for everyone to act in the most coordinated way possible, because we literally have no time.  Everybody (inaudible) the frontline, but also in any household across Ukraine, because when you have neither electricity nor water supply you literally become a part of the frontline and you need immediate support.

It is true that virtually everyone yesterday reiterated continued support to Ukraine, and I was pleased to hear from virtually everyone that this support to Ukraine will continue as long as necessary.  I can only add one element to that.  This – the people of Ukraine will be most grateful if this support is delivered as fast as it is necessary and it continues as long as it is necessary. Time really matters.

We have a lot on our plate today. These are all well-known issues.  And we are browsing the world together with Secretary Blinken, looking for more assistance and building various combinations, and in particular we’ll be talking, discussing, reach out to the Global South.  We need to have more countries on board in this common struggle for the world based on rules.  Thank you.

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