By Valeria Yehoshyna
(RFE/RL) — The United States will continue to “support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” accelerating military assistance in the country’s battle against invading Russian military forces, the United States Ambassador to Kyiv.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Ukraine service, Bridget Brink said she was “really proud” of the fact that the United States was “Ukraine’s biggest provider of security assistance”.
“And that includes long-range artillery, anti-aircraft defence, coastal defences, a lot of ammunition and much more. So we are now providing assistance through a presidential levy, which is one way very quick to provide it. And we do it about every two weeks [which] this is what we plan and we will continue to support and assist Ukraine with security assistance for as long as it takes,” Brink added, referring to presidential authority to provide military assistance.
Brink’s comments come after the White House announced on July 22 that the United States was sending an additional $270 million in security assistance to Ukraine, a package that will include additional medium-range rocket systems and tactical drones.
The latest installment brings to $8.2 billion the total U.S. security assistance pledged to Ukraine by President Joe Biden’s administration since Russia launched its unprovoked attack on its western neighbor on 24 february.
The new package includes four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and will allow Kyiv to acquire up to 580 Phoenix Ghost drones, two crucial weapon systems that have kept the Ukrainians in the fight despite the supremacy of Russian artillery, according to John Kirby. , the strategic communications coordinator for the White House National Security Council.
US officials are coordinating arms deliveries closely with their Ukrainian counterparts, Brink said.
“So I can tell you that at every step of this, in the closest coordination with our Ukrainian partners, we are doing everything we can to give Ukrainian soldiers on the front line what they need as soon as they need it. need,” the United States said. said the ambassador.
Brink said it was up to Ukraine to decide “what victory is,” as President Biden and his administration have made clear.
“We’ve always said, and the president has said, we’re not going to tell Ukraine what victory is or force Ukraine to cede territory or anything like that. That’s not what we’re going to do,” Brink explained. “What we like to see, what we support for Ukraine is a sovereign, independent, democratic and prosperous Ukraine. So all of this help and support is aimed at helping the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian government achieve this goal. »
Russia was relying on its 2014 ‘playbook’ when it seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and began fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions , providing arms, fighters and funding to the separatists.
“It is outrageous that Russia is trying to annex the territory of Ukraine. But it’s no surprise, we saw this happen in Crimea in 2014. And it seems to be the same playbook,” Brink said. Thus, efforts are being made in Kherson and other parts currently occupied by Russia to do things such as giving passports to citizens, requiring the Russian language in schools and administration, installing proxy leadership in these authorities. We believe this is outrageous and not in accordance with international law.
The US National Security Council said on July 19 that it had information that Russia was preparing to annex all of Donbass as well as lands along Ukraine’s southern coast, including Kherson and Zaporizhzhya.
This would formalize Russian control over more than 18% of Ukrainian territory on top of the roughly 4.5% Moscow took in 2014 by illegally annexing Crimea.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on July 20 that Russia’s ambitions in Ukraine now extend far beyond the eastern region of Donbass to include a strip of land in the south and “a number of ‘other territories’.
Lavrov claimed that Russia’s new territorial ambitions were driven by the course of the war. But at the start of the invasion, Russia attempted to occupy much of southern Ukraine and seize the capital, Kyiv.
In his interview with RFE/RL, Brink also denied that sanctions against Moscow were not working.
“I think they are already having an effect. And sanctions, the way sanctions work is that the effect also happens over time. So it’s clear based on the GDP [gross domestic product] production, basically, based on inflation and other indicators that the sanctions are already having an impact,” Brink said.
The White House said Russia’s default on its foreign debt on June 27 – the first since the Bolshevik Revolution more than a century ago – showed the power of Western sanctions imposed on Russia since it invaded the Ukraine.
Brink, who speaks Russian, has been a career diplomat for 25 years and has worked in Uzbekistan and Georgia as well as in several senior positions with the US State Department and the White House National Security Council. Prior to taking up her post in Kyiv, Brink served as the United States Ambassador to Slovakia.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the reopening of the US embassy in Ukraine on May 19, the same day the Senate confirmed Brink’s nomination. The embassy had closed earlier this year due to security concerns.