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

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

Secondly, we had the opportunity, Dmytro, yesterday with a number of countries – G7 countries and others – to talk about the acute needs that Ukraine now has in terms of its own energy infrastructure. Because President Putin fails to defeat Ukraine militarily, he is now continuing the war against its civilians, and he is doing this by trying to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, turn off the lights, turn off the heating, to turn off the water so that the civilians suffer. And we heard directly from the Minister of Foreign Affairs about the conditions in Ukraine.

What I can also say is that there is a strong determination and conviction – again, among many, many countries – to help ensure that we help Ukraine defend its energy infrastructure and, if necessary, to repair and replace what is destroyed by Russian aggression.

So there is a lot to say, as always. I would just add that what is happening in Ukraine right now that we see every day – this assault on energy infrastructure, this assault on civilians in every corner of the country – is not normal and cannot be normalized . And you have to understand the brutalization of the country which is quite simply barbaric.

FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA: Thanks for your words. And I would like to thank you especially for the leadership of the United States on two most pressing issues: the supply of arms to Ukraine so that we can defeat Russia on the front line, and also the satisfaction Ukraine’s energy needs, which are necessary to protect our civilian population and survive the winter.

Yesterday we heard a number of commitments – new commitments – from various NATO members to supply Ukraine with more defensive weapons and energy equipment. Secretary Blinken rightly pointed out the need for everyone to act in the most coordinated way possible, because we literally don’t have the time. Everyone (inaudible) on the front line, but also in any household across Ukraine, because when you have no electricity or water, you literally become part of the front line and you need immediate support.

It is true that virtually everyone yesterday reiterated their continued support for Ukraine, and I was delighted to hear virtually everyone saying that this support for Ukraine will continue for as long as necessary. I can only add one item to this. This – the people of Ukraine will be very grateful if this support is provided as quickly as needed and continues for as long as needed. Time really matters.

We have a lot to do today. These are all well-known issues. And we travel the world with Secretary Blinken, seeking more assistance and building various combinations, and in particular we will talk, discuss, reach out to the countries of the South. We need to involve more countries in this common fight for a rules-based world. Thanks.

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