Blinken in Moldova on Sunday, day after meeting with Ukraine foreign minister

Blinken in Moldova on Sunday, day after meeting with Ukraine foreign minister

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Moldova on Sunday, where he was scheduled to meet with Moldovan leaders dealing with the arrival of more than 120,000 refugees from neighboring Ukraine.

In all, more than 230,000 Ukrainians had crossed into Moldova since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began 11 days ago, The Associated Press reported.

Moldova was also seeking security assurances from the West as it dealt with its own fears of a Russian invasion, the AP reported. Russia already has troops inside the country, the report said.

Blinken praised Moldova for its willingness to accept the refugees, the AP reported.

“We admire the generosity of hospitality, the willingness to be such good friends to people who are in distress, and, indeed, I want to do everything we can to help you deal with the burden that this has imposed,” he said.

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On Saturday, Blinken traveled to the Ukraine-Poland border, where he met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, according to reports.

Photos from the meeting showed the two officials walking side by side, accompanied by aides and surrounded by journalists, on the streets of Korczowa, Poland. Their walk included a cross of the border into Ukraine, reports said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, second right, walk together after meeting at the Ukrainian-Polish border crossing in Korczowa, Poland, Saturday, March 5, 2022. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, second right, walk together after meeting at the Ukrainian-Polish border crossing in Korczowa, Poland, Saturday, March 5, 2022.  (Associated Press)

Blinken’s visit included a tour of a refugee reception center, where Ukrainians forced from their homes because of Russia’s invasion of their country had gathered with their children and whatever belongings they could manage to take with them, the Washington Post reported.

The U.S. secretary said the Biden administration was considering all of Ukraine’s requests for aid but was not committed to providing military aircraft, the report said.

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“Putin has made a terrible, terrible, terrible mistake in many ways. But it starts with the proposition that somehow Ukraine doesn’t exist as an independent country,” Blinken said, according to the Post. “What Ukrainians are showing every single day is, of course, exactly the opposite. And ultimately, their strength, their resolve, their determination, backed by the United States, in fact by the world, is going to prevail.”

Kuleba told reporters that antitank weapons and surface-to-air missiles already received from the West had been big helps to Ukraine’s military, the report said.

Blinken left the U.S. Thursday for a trip that was scheduled to include stops in Belgium, Poland, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, “to underscore our solidarity and determination to hold the Russian and Belarusian governments accountable for their brutal war against Ukraine,” Blinken wrote on Twitter.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.