Blinken to pay a visit to Ukraine amid Kyiv-Moscow tensions

TEHRAN, Apr. 27 (MNA) – In addition to Biden's possible European summit with Putin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also scheduled to make a trek to Ukraine in May, a source close to the Ukraine government says.

Amid tensions between western countries and Russia over Ukraine, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will travel to Kyiv.

Earlier on Monday, Russian presidential foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told a local broadcaster that Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden have discussed tentative dates for a meeting in June, Sputnik reported.

In addition to Biden's possible European summit with Putin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also scheduled to make a trek to Ukraine in May, a source close to the Ukrainian government reported.

According to the source, negotiations between the United States and Ukraine about Blinken’s visit to Kiev in May are ongoing, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also hopes to have a meeting with President Joe Biden ahead of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With respect to the potential Biden-Putin summit, the report said it will take place only after Biden's meetings with the leaders of the G7 and NATO partner states.

Ex-US diplomat Daniel Fried claimed that this two-pronged approach by Washington would ensure "Ukraine is not simply a corrupt state vulnerable to that Russian aggression."

Earlier this month, Blinken met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Brussels, Belgium, and declared that the US "stands firmly behind the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine." 
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who also attended the meeting in Brussels, also pledged to assist the Ukrainian government "with its self-defense needs."

Ukraine and the United States have recently voiced concerns over the situation on the border with Russia, including about the alleged Russian military buildup, and urged Moscow to deescalate. Russia said all of its troop movements are aimed at ensuring its national security in response to NATO's buildup near Russia's borders. Russia has also repeatedly said it was not party to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"The US and other NATO member states, which seek increasing its presence at Russia's borders, continue provocative activities in the east and in the Black Sea waters," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said last week.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if the Ukrainian president wants to restore relations, then Moscow will welcome such a move. The Russian leader also said that he is ready to host his Ukrainian counterpart in Moscow at any convenient time if he wants to discuss bilateral relations, when commenting on Zelenskyy's recent proposal to meet.


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