Interfax-Ukraine

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Zelensky discusses assistance to Ukraine with US secretaries of state, defense.

Assistance to Ukraine topped the agenda of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

"Assistance to Ukraine was the No. 1 item on the agenda of negotiations with the U.S. representatives who came to Kyiv yesterday... Our negotiations were quite long - they lasted for over three hours - and substantive. They were inspiring and, importantly, fruitful. I am grateful to the people of the United States and, personally, to President [Joe] Biden for the strong, sincere support we have been receiving. This is palpable assistance that bolsters both our state and democracy as a whole," Zelensky said in a video address on Monday.

"We have coordinated with the U.S. side further steps towards strengthening the Ukrainian Armed Forces and accommodation of all primary needs of our army. In particular, this includes preparations for a major ministerial meeting in Germany, which will take place on Tuesday and will gather together 40 defense ministers from partner states. The key item is the protection of Ukraine, the protection of freedom in eastern Europe," he said.

Sanctions against Russia were also discussed at the negotiations, Zelensky said. "We presented the partners with a special plan enhancing sanctions against Russia. It was drafted by an international expert team led by Andriy Yermak and Michael McFaul," Zelensky said.

Financial assistance to Ukraine was a separate item on the agenda, Zelensky said. "Financial assistance to freedom becomes vital. I have heard about full understanding of this stance from the U.S. friends," he said.

In addition, the sides discussed the provision of security guarantees for Ukraine, Zelensky said. "I have no doubt that the United States could lead the future guarantors of Ukraine's security," he said.

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