Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met on Wednesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, hailing US support amid concerns over allegations that Russia could be preparing for a new military offensive against the country.
"Ended negotiations with @SecBlinken. I appreciate personal involvement in the de-escalation of the situation around Ukraine. Grateful for the US' political & security support. Count on enhancing economic & financial cooperation. I'm sure there will be no decision about Ukraine without Ukraine," Zelensky said on Twitter.
Blinken arrived in Ukraine's capital Kyiv, and is set to travel to Berlin for talks with allies, and then meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.
Speaking at the US Embassy, Blinken said Russia eyes to further increase its troops near the Ukrainian frontier. "We know that there are plans in place to increase that force even more on very short notice," he said, adding that this gives Russian President Vladimir Putin "the capacity also on very short notice to take further aggressive action against Ukraine."
He advised the "path of diplomacy and dialogue" to resolve the conflict in the region.
Blinken also met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, and accused Russia of attempting to divide Ukraine at a joint press conference.
The US would boost defense aid to Ukraine in case of a Russian attack, he said, stressing that the US prioritizes a diplomatic solution to the problem.
Kuleba said Ukraine is working to consolidate its defensive capabilities, and the US is its primary partner.
The problem will be solved when the last of the troops leave the Donbas and Crimea, he added.
Russia has recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s eastern border, prompting fears that it is planning another military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor. Moscow has dismissed the concerns.
Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, with Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.
Turkiye and the US, as well as the UN General Assembly view the annexation as illegal.
According to the UN, fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region has seen more than 13,000 people killed since 2014.