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

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  Dmytro and I were just saying that we manage to meet pretty much everywhere around the world – in Kyiv most aptly, in Europe, now here in Asia, in New York.  And we’re meeting today at a time when Ukraine has just liberated the city of Kherson and the region, and that success is a testament once again to the remarkable courage of the Ukrainian armed forces, the Ukrainian people, as well as the strong support that Ukraine has from countries around the world, including, of course, the United States – support that will continue for as long as it takes – security, humanitarian, economic.

At the same time, even with this significant success, we also know that Russia continues to brutalize Ukraine, especially with its targeted campaign to try to take out its energy infrastructure – everything necessary to keep the lights on, keep people warm during the winter, having a terrible effect on the civilian population throughout Ukraine.  Our determination is equal to help support Ukraine to defend that critical infrastructure and, of course, to replace and repair it if it’s damaged.  But I think the world should take note of what’s going on every single day.  And if you look at a map of what Russia’s trying to do to destroy its infrastructure, and as a result do terrible damage to the lives of civilians throughout the country, it’s something that the world should be aghast at as well.

The fact, Dmytro, that you’re here is also testament to the fact that you’ve been going around the world working to secure support for Ukraine.  I think that support is strong around the world and a few weeks ago it manifested in a vote at the United Nations where 143 countries stood up against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.  But it remains very important to continue to secure that support.  I’m very glad that you’re here.  I’m particularly glad that ASEAN has welcomed you.  And I look forward to discussing, as always, the many things on our agenda.  So good to see you, my friend.

FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA:  Thank you.  Well, I appreciate that you began your remarks with reference to Kherson.  And I want the people of America and the Biden administration to know that when the residents of the Kherson region and the city of Kherson welcomed Ukrainian soldiers with the tears of joy, these are also the tears of gratitude to all those in the United States and to the people of America who have helped us to force Russia to retreat.  And we will always be grateful for everything President Biden and the people of America, irrespective of their political – domestic political preferences, have done to make this happen.  And I remember vividly how the first meeting since the beginning of the war, on the border between Poland —

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes.

FOREIGN MINISTER KULEBA:  — and Ukraine, there was a lot of uncertainty at that moment.  There were very few who believed that Ukraine would survive.  But you were confident and you were there, and I remember this conversation, and it was inspiring to know that someone who believes in you stands by you in this struggle.  And this is my personal word of gratitude to you, Antony.

I think it’s symbolic that a year ago, the 10th of November, I was in Washington and you and I signed the revised Charter of Strategic Partnership between Ukraine and the United States; and a year later, on the 10th of November, I signed the instrument of accession of Ukraine to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Asia – in Southeast Asia.  So this just demonstrates how far have we gone after consolidating our position as a country belonging to the West and our strategic partnership with the United States.  I was in Africa last month, I’m in Asia today, and we are ready – we will be working a lot with all countries to proceed with them to take the side of international law and some very fundamental principles of our world in this struggle, in this fight against the aggression of Russia not only against Ukraine but also against all these principles that our world is built upon.

So we – I appreciate your support in reaching out to these countries and convincing them and working with them.  This is a huge help.  And it’s only together that we will be able to prevail and to kick Russia out of Ukraine.  We are on the way.  This is coming, and our victory will be our joint victory – victory of all peace-loving nations across the world.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.