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PRIME MINISTER SHMYHAL:  (Via interpreter) Your Excellency Under Secretary, your excellencies ambassadors, dear colleagues, I would like to welcome you, Your Excellency Mr. Blinken, with the first official visit to Ukraine.  I welcome you, Madam Nuland, with the appointment of Under Secretary of State on Political Issues.  Indeed, this is a symbolic thing, that your first visit in these days is happening to Ukraine after you have embraced these positions.  I’m sure that the unity of interests of Ukraine and the United States is indeed a fundamental base to further develop strategy in security, in technological energy, and other strategic spheres.

I would like to assure you that Ukraine is unwavering in its reform agenda, in particular fighting corruption and ensuring the rule of law.  Taking this opportunity, I would like to express our gratitude for support to provide the technical logistics and military equipment and support programs via various programs, via State – Department of State (inaudible) USAID, which are critical to ensure safety, security, and defense of our country.

We are grateful for the unwavering stance of the United States on non-support and immediate seizure of the aggressive policy of Russia in the eastern parts of Ukraine and along the eastern border of Ukraine.  I would like to thank you personally, Your Excellency Blinken, when you expressed your strong standpoint when you were talking to Mr. Heiko Maas of Germany on the finalization of the North[i] Stream 2 construction and understanding the repercussions even when this project is fulfilled for Eastern and Central European (inaudible).  The only mechanism for preventing Russia to use North Stream[ii] as an energy tool and energy weapon is prevention of its completion and making it up and running, so I thank you for such unwavering, trustworthy support in this direction.

Thank you.  The floor is yours.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much.  Thank you for your hospitality today.  Thank you for all of the good work we’re already doing together.  I’m here really for two very simple reasons.  One is to, on behalf of President Biden, just reaffirm our strong support for Ukraine, our strong partnership with Ukraine, and our commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity.  And President Biden thought it was very important that I come here as early as possible to say that directly and to say that here in Ukraine, and second, to say also that we stand very strongly with you as you continue to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy, to advance the reform agenda, to strengthen institutions, to fight corruption, and to in effect help deliver for the Ukrainian people what they need and what they’re entitled to from government.  We’re your full partner in that as well.

We’ve had very good conversations already with the president, with the foreign minister, with members of – leading of the Rada, et cetera, and I appreciated the opportunity we just had to speak as well.  And I know we have some work to do and we’re ready to do it, so thank you again.

[i] Nord

[ii] Nord Stream 2

U.S. Department of State

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