Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze met with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia Laura Cooper. The purpose of the visit is to clarify the circumstances of the Russian aggression against the Ukrainian Naval Forces and to discuss the priority needs of the Ukrainian fleet and the further steps in the context of receiving Ukraine's security assistance.
"The whole world saw another brazen act of the continuous Russian aggression against Ukraine. Russia is carrying out a policy aimed to annex the Sea of Azov in order to gain an advantage in the Black Sea area and block the Berdyansk and Mariupol ports. Such actions already triggered a negative impact on the economic situation in the east of Ukraine ", the Vice Prime Minister stressed.
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze thanked the American side for timely condemnation of Russian aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait, which is a flagrant violation of international law.
In turn, Laura Cooper confirmed that the U. S. is shaping a comprehensive response to the Kremlin's actions. "We clearly understand that it was a complete act of aggression on the part of Russia," she stressed.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper emphasized the unity of European and Western leaders regarding the condemnation of Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine. "We see the unity of the international community as to supporting Ukraine. The leaders of the European Union and the U.S. have clearly stated that the Russian Federation should free Ukrainian sailors and return captured Ukrainian ships, "she underlined.
In the course of a meeting, the sides touched upon transformations being currently implemented in the country's defense sector. In this context, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze noted that, despite Russia's pressure, Ukraine is not going to slow down the pace of reforms, including the reform of the Armed Forces. "Ukraine clearly demonstrates the desire to put in practice needed transformations in the security and defense sector. In particular, this year the Law on National Security of Ukraine was adopted, which brings us closer to NATO standards. Now it is essential to take further steps to implement it. We expect that the United States will continue to support Ukraine in reforming the defense and security sector, " the Vice Prime Minister underlined.
For her part, Laura Cooper stressed that the U.S. is ready to support Ukraine in further strengthening the navy and defense industry reform in line with NATO standards.
"Taking into account the latest developments, we praise the U.S. assistance to the Armed Forces and the Ukrainian Navy," Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze underscored.
In 2018, The United States Senate has approved allocation of $250 million financial assistance for Ukraine’s defence needs in 2019.