The United States has announced an additional $23 million in U.S. humanitarian aid to Ukraine, bringing the total of such assistance by the United States to $135 million.
During his recent visit to Kyiv, Secretary of State John Kerry said the newly announced aid will help thousands of vulnerable people who are affected by Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
At a press briefing with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Secretary Kerry emphasized that the fastest way to resolve that conflict is for the parties to fully implement the Minsk agreements:
“There should be no doubt about what that requires: a real enforceable ceasefire of the contact line; unfettered OSCE access to all of Donbas, including the border; the return of all hostages; free and fair elections in Donbas that meet the OSCE standards and accord with Ukraine’s constitution; the withdrawal of all foreign weapons and forces; and ultimately, the return of Ukrainian sovereignty along its internationally recognized border.”
Secretary Kerry said that Ukraine is making a good–faith effort to implement Minsk, but that “without real security in the Donbas, an end to the bloodshed on the contact line, the use of heavy weapons, and the blockading of OSCE access…Minsk is doomed to fail.” He noted that President Barack Obama conveyed that message to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call July 6.
“If Russia chooses the path of de-escalation and full implementation of Minsk,” Mr. Kerry said, “the international community – all of us – will welcome it. And we pledge to work very closely with President Poroshenko to make sure that his government and Ukraine is doing all in its power to live up to its responsibilities. If Russia does not move in the direction of embracing that possibility and de-escalating, then the sanctions will remain in place.”
“The same is true with respect to Crimea,” said Secretary Kerry. ”We do not and we will not recognize Russia’s attempted annexation.”
Secretary Kerry praised reforms undertaken by the Ukraine Government to improve the economy and fight corruption, and he noted that the government, while still having work to do, has also made progress in the judicial and legislative arenas.
“So long as Ukraine’s democratic forces stay united and continue to make progress towards the goals that the people of Ukraine have expressed,” Secretary Kerry said, “the United States will stand with Ukraine.”