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FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA:  It’s a great pleasure to welcome a colleague, a friend, Antony Blinken, State Secretary of the United States, here in Ukraine, and particularly in the foreign ministry.  And as the Secretary was walking in, he said that he appreciates being in my home, and I responded with all my sincerity that:  My home is your home.  I think this testifies to the quality of personal but also – relationship but also the relationship between our countries.  So welcome.  I’m looking forward to a productive, result-oriented conversation with you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much, my friend.  It’s always good and, in fact, inspiring to be in Ukraine, to be back in Ukraine.  This is now the fourth time I’ve been to Ukraine since the Russian aggression in February of 2022.  Every time I’m here, I’m struck by the extraordinary bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian forces, Ukraine’s leadership.  And I’m here first and foremost to demonstrate our ongoing and determined support for Ukraine as it deals with this aggression.  We’ve seen good progress on the counteroffensive (inaudible).  We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs not only to succeed in the counteroffensive but has what it needs it for the long term to make sure that it has a strong deterrent, strong defense capacity so that, in the future, aggressions like this don’t happen again.

And we’re also determined to continue to work with our partners as they build and rebuild a strong economy, a strong democracy – all of that which is necessary to ensure that Ukraine not only survives, but it thrives in the future.  And in that, Ukraine has a strong partner in the United States.  For me, it’s always a special pleasure to be with, again, not only my colleague, but my friend, Dmytro Kuleba.  We’ve been working together around the world (inaudible).  So good to be here, my friend.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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