US says Crimea, Donbas belong to Ukraine, urges Russia to end aggression

Secretary Antony J. Blinken, in his upcoming trip to Kyiv, Ukraine on May 6 will reinforce U.S. support for Ukrainian sovereignty against Russian aggression and affirm its support for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and democratic reforms, the State Department said on Wednesday.  

The U.S. issued a strongly worded statement condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine, saying the U.S. “does not, nor will we ever recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the Crimean Peninsula” – and called on Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine. 

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets virtually with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, from the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on April 27, 2021. State Department photo by Ron Przysucha 
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets virtually with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, from the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on April 27, 2021. State Department photo by Ron Przysucha

The U.S. also urged Russia to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, citing Russia’s commitments under the “Minsk agreements,” which officially ended the war in the Donbas region in 2014. 

The EU estimated in March 2020 that 13,000 people had died, 1.4 million had been displaced, and 3.4 million were in need of humanitarian assistance. The U.S. has provided just over $300 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine since 2014. 

“Crimea is Ukraine.”; “Donbas is Ukraine.,” the State Department said. 

The G7 Foreign and Development Ministers in a joint statement on Wednesday called on Russia “to de-escalate the situation on Ukraine’s borders and in the illegally- annexed Crimea.” 

“It is critical that Moscow now fully withdraws its forces and takes the necessary steps to help alleviate tensions,” they said in the statement. The G7 ministers were also concerned about Russia’s actions to bock access to the Black Sea and to Ukrainian ports. 

Yesterday, Blinken and French Foreign Minister Le Drian both pledged “unwavering support” to Ukraine’s sovereignty and agreed to monitor Russian aggression against Ukraine, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said of their meeting. 

Regarding institutional reforms, the U.S. said “building institutions with integrity and ensuring accountable governance in both state institutions and in the corporate sector is the key to Ukraine achieving its Euro-Atlantic aspirations”.  

“The United States stands with Ukraine as it continues to fight corruption and to advance its rule of law and judicial reform agenda,” the State Department said. 

“We reiterate our full confidence in the G7 Ambassador’s Group in Ukraine and acknowledge the role of this group in monitoring and supporting the implementation of reforms,” the G7 ministers’ joint statement read. 

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