U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin has arrived in Ukraine on an official visit.
Austin wrote on his official Twitter account that he had flown to Kyiv “to reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations — and to express our commitment to build Ukraine’s capacity to deter further Russian aggression.”
As reported, Austin is scheduled to hold a series of meetings with the leadership of Ukraine on bilateral and regional security cooperation and defence reforms.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine stated that the issues related to Ukraine’s accession to NATO and security in the Black Sea would be raised during the meeting with the Pentagon chief.
During a joint briefing with the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Austin assured that Washington continued to support Kyiv and condemned the actions of Russia, which had started the war in Donbas and hindered the peaceful settlement of the situation.
“We condemn the occupation of Crimea and call on Russia to end the war in eastern Ukraine and destabilisation in the Black Sea,” he said.
Commenting on Russia’s reaction to the possibility of Ukraine’s accession to NATO, Austin said that no third country had the right to influence Ukraine’s determination of its future foreign policy.
The Pentagon chief also called on Russia to stop cyber attacks targeting the United States and its partners.