The United States says it does not know who attacked various targets on Russian soil earlier this week, saying it has “neither facilitated nor encouraged” Ukraine to do so. That is one of the main messages that Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of State, transmitted this Thursday to a group of international journalists and analysts through a videoconference. The diplomat insisted from Paris that all the weapons that Washington has supplied to kyiv this year are “exclusively for defensive purposes” and stressed that the transatlantic allies remain “deeply committed” to supporting Ukraine.
Last Monday there were two explosions at the Ryazan and Saratov airfields, hundreds of kilometers from the Ukrainian border. Moscow accused kyiv of the attacks, noting that they had been carried out with Soviet-made Ukrainian drones. Since the beginning of the war, NATO members have tried to measure at all times that their collaboration could not be interpreted by the Kremlin as a direct intervention in the conflict, for which reason they have rejected the option of delivering long-range missiles or to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. “I think that all the European allies share this position [de no suministrar misiles de largo alcance]”, Sherman maintained, despite the fact that different Eastern European countries, mainly Lithuania, insist on the need to arm Ukraine with this material.
The number two The State Department reiterated the need for allies to stand firm and united in their support for Ukraine. “We have to continue to show that one country cannot invade another with impunity, because then we will all be in danger.” Sherman, one of the architects of the nuclear agreement signed with Iran in 2015, downplayed the recent friction between some NATO members. “In the transatlantic relationship there may be different voices, but solidarity is immense,” declared the Undersecretary of State. The US diplomat avoided commenting on the criticism from several European capitals of the recent statements by French President Emmanuel Macron, in which he urged Russia to offer “security guarantees” to end the war, or on Hungary’s blockade of the 18,000 million euros that the EU intends to disburse to kyiv. “Everyone wants this war to end, and Ukraine more than anyone. Of course we listen to the voices calling for an end to the conflict, but everyone, absolutely everyone, agrees that ‘nothing about Ukraine, without Ukraine’.
Sherman acknowledged that the duration of the war is generating “fatigue among the European population”, especially due to the “impact on fuel prices and inflation”, which have made life “more difficult”, but demanded that the allies Europeans who do not doubt the importance of “their sacrifices”. The 73-year-old Democratic politician stressed that “the entire world has suffered the consequences of this war” and that “there are children who have gone from being hungry to dying of it.”
Asked about the US senators who advocate reducing support for Ukraine, and about the impact on this matter that the House of Representatives will be controlled by the Republicans, Sherman assured that in the United States Congress there is a ” very, very strong bipartisan support” for Ukraine, though he admitted there are “small pockets” of lawmakers who think differently.
The Undersecretary of State, who was in Paris as part of a European tour that also includes visits to London, Rome, Berlin and Prague, thanked Macron for holding an international conference on coordinating support for Ukraine so that it can do facing this winter. “I expect a huge effort at the multilateral level during the meeting [del proximo martes]”. Sherman argued that helping the Ukrainian government has become “even more imperative” following the recent Kremlin attacks on key infrastructure. In his opinion, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is trying to punish the Ukrainian population with this punishment to achieve “what they have been unable to win on the battlefield”, for which he urged to redouble collaboration with kyiv so that the supply of electricity and water can be restored as soon as possible throughout the country.
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