President Petro Poroshenko visited the US Navy destroyer Donald Cook in Odesa, where he met with US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker.
The Head of State noted that the visits of American ships were a vivid demonstration of cooperation between Kyiv and Washington. “We are grateful to our reliable ally. This is how we consider the development of our cooperation, inter alia, in the defense sphere. An extraordinary symbolic meeting on board of Donald Cook, which is a frequent visitor to the Black Sea, to Odesa,” Petro Poroshenko noted.
“This is a legendary ship. And this is an important signal to the Kremlin on the fifth year of occupation. First, Crimea is Ukrainian. Second, freedom of navigation in the region will be ensured as guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Ukrainian-American partnership is stronger than ever. And we effectively cooperate in all spheres, including defense,” he said.
“I really appreciate that our American partners increased military presence in the Black Sea in response to our request. This is an important answer to the unprovoked attack and the act of aggression against Ukrainian ships, which took place on November 25 last year. The Kremlin’s aggression, I want to emphasize, affects not only the vital interests of Ukraine. It also touches upon the security of the EU, NATO in the Black Sea,” the Head of State emphasized.
He added: “The project of the Kerch Bridge was used as a forerunner to the attack on Ukrainian ships. Maybe tomorrow you will see a symbol of the Nord Stream 2 for the attack in the Baltic Sea or in any other area”.
“Today, investment in Ukraine’s security by the United States is a vivid confirmation of investment in the security of the entire region and the whole world,” he emphasized.
US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, who is on a working visit to Odesa, emphasized that the United States of America adhered to the position of firm support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
“We stand and will always stand with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in defense of freedom and democracy. It is a great honor for me to be here today with you, Mr. President,” Kurt Volker said.
Kurt Volker also emphasized: “We are here as your good partners and friends. Maintaining freedom of navigation is also important for us”.
“We condemn the Russian attack on Ukrainian seamen in the Kerch Strait and we call for the release of Ukrainian seamen illegally imprisoned in Russia,” he said.
The meeting was attended by First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin, Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Kostiantyn Yelisieiev and Commander of the Naval Forces of the AFU Ihor Voronchenko.
The meeting was also attended by US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Deputy Chief of the USEUCOM on political affairs Philip Reeker, United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Vice Prime Minister for the Implementation of Romania’s Strategic Partnerships Ana Birchall.