Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed reports that the US was pushing Ukraine towards negotiating an end to the war with Russia during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. At the summit, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine had a “de facto” NATO military.
Blinken was at NATO headquarters in Brussels for the conference. He said, “Some are questioning whether the United States and other NATO allies in truth continue to stand with Ukraine as we enter the second winter of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s brutality.” Blinken continued, “But the answer here today at NATO is clear and it’s unwavering. We must and we will continue to support Ukraine.”
Last week, the German outlet Bild reported Washington and Berlin were trying to nudge Kiev towards negotiating a settlement with Moscow. James O’Brien, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian affairs, also denied the US was altering its policy towards Ukraine.
“The Bild story I thought was intriguing, but no, there’s no US policy,” O’Brien said. “We’ve always said that this is a matter for Ukraine to decide. We decide nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine. And I think the other reality here is we see no indication that Russia is willing to entertain substantive, real peace negotiations.”
Kuleba also said Kiev is still firmly committed to winning the war rather than negotiations. “We have to continue, we have to keep fighting. Ukraine is not going to back down. Our strategic goal, which is territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders as of 1991, remains unchanged. The issue here is not just Ukraine’s security, it is the security and safety of the entire Euro-Atlantic space.”
Ukraine’s top diplomat went on to call on Congress to pass a massive aid bill for both Kiev and Tel Aviv. “Hopefully the US Congress will also find a solution that will be in the best interests of the American people which is actually to support both Israel and Ukraine.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to hold a vote on President Joe Biden’s proposed $105 billion foreign military funding bill next week. If passed, the White House will have billions in funds to arm Ukraine and Israel.
The US and its allies in the North Atlantic alliance have spent tens of billions of dollars arming and training Ukrainian troops. Kuleba said the support has turned the Ukrainian military into “a de facto NATO army.”
“We are increasing our interoperability with NATO,” he explained. “We are pretty much becoming a de facto NATO army, in terms of our technical capacity, management approaches, and principles of running an army.”
After NATO officials met with Kuleba, the alliance issued a statement reaffirming support for Ukraine. It said, the alliance members will “remain steadfast in their commitment to further step up political and practical support to Ukraine” and “will continue their support for as long as it takes.”