US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Brussels Tuesday ahead of this week’s high-stakes NATO foreign ministerial as US officials warn that Russia’s war in Ukraine could be entering a protracted new phase.
Speaking to reporters en route to the Belgian capital, the top US diplomat said it was “an important moment” to coordinate with allies and partners “on a number of fronts.”
“We obviously have some changing battlefield dynamics with the Russian pullback from parts of Ukraine, especially Kyiv and areas more to the west,” Blinken said.
“We of course have the horrific atrocities that have been revealed for all the world to see in Bucha. I suspect, alas, we will see more of that where Russian forces pull out,” he said. “As I said, it’s like a receding tide and we’re seeing in very stark terms the death and destruction that’s being left in its wake. So, there’s obviously a lot of focus on that.”
Blinken said the ministerial, which comes just weeks after NATO leaders gathered in Brussels, will also focus on “the work we’ve been doing together to support the Ukrainians and we’ll be looking at ways to sustain that and build on that, the work we are doing to put pressure on Russia and Putin, and we’ll be looking on ways to not only sustain that but build on that.”
“And of course work to strengthen and shore up the NATO alliance,” Blinken added.
US Ambassador to NATO Julie Smith told reporters earlier Tuesday that there would be a separate session at the NATO ministerial with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, saying “it’s important for us to hear directly from the Ukrainians firsthand what their assessment is of these fast-moving developments on the ground, and what more we can all do to help the Ukrainians in this moment.”
While in Brussels, Blinken will meet not only with his NATO counterparts at the ministerial, but also with the “Quint” — Italy, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom — and the “Quad” — France, Germany and the UK. He will also meet with his Australian and Japanese counterparts.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: The Bloggers Briefing