Antony Blinken's Strategic Europe Tour: Strengthening NATO Support for Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Chisinau and Prague to reinforce Western support for Ukraine amidst Russian aggression. He will meet Moldovan leaders and attend a NATO foreign ministers gathering, focusing on Ukraine's military and reform efforts. Discussions may include Ukraine's potential use of Western weapons against Russia.

Reuters | Updated: 29-05-2024 10:32 IST | Created: 29-05-2024 10:32 IST
Antony Blinken's Strategic Europe Tour: Strengthening NATO Support for Ukraine
Antony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on Wednesday, the first stop of a brief Europe tour during which he will aim to solidify the Western support for Ukraine across NATO allies and neighboring countries.

The U.S. top diplomat's trip comes as Ukraine is trying to fend off intensifying Russian attacks in the east and as President Vladimir Putin warns that allowing Kyiv use Western weapons to hit inside Russia would trigger a global conflict. In Chisinau, Blinken will meet with President Maia Sandu and other senior officials at a time when U.S. officials say the country faces Russian "influence operations".

Top U.S. diplomat for Europe at the State Department, Jim O'Brien, told reporters on Friday that the United States will likely announce a "robust package" of support for Moldova's energy independence, without elaborating. He added that Washington has not seen a direct military threat from Russia toward Moldova's breakaway Transnistria region.

Later in the week, Blinken will travel to Prague to attend an informal gathering of NATO foreign ministers, which will focus on advancing preparations ahead of a July leaders summit of the alliance in Washington. "We do not anticipate that there'll be an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO, but we think there will be a substantial show of support for Ukraine as it works to win its war," O'Brien said.

"This will include ongoing NATO support in building Ukraine's future force and efforts to help Ukraine as it makes the reforms needed so that it's able to join the EU and run across the bridge to NATO as quickly as it's able." The United States has been working with European allies to help Ukraine build its long-term force, efforts that would bring Kyiv closer to NATO. Individual members including the United States are working to reach bilateral agreements with Ukraine.

More than two years into the deadliest war in Europe since World War Two, Western allies are debating how to stop Russian military advances and Putin is increasingly evoking the risk of a global war. One critical issue has been whether the allies would allow Ukraine use the weapons they provide to strike inside Russia, a topic that might be discussed at the Prague meeting.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told The Economist that alliance members should let Ukraine use their weapons inside Russia, a view supported by some European members of the transatlantic alliance but not the United States. The United States has repeatedly said that it does not encourage Ukraine to strike inside Russia.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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