U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says “Ukraine has no greater friend than the United States” in resisting Russia’s attempted annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. He spoke Friday in Washington after meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

Pompeo said Washington would continue to punish Russia until it returned control of Crimea to Ukraine.

Klimkin said the U.S. and Ukraine “stand shoulder to shoulder in countering Russian aggression.” He said such aggression takes many forms, both the war in Crimea and parts of Donbas in Ukraine, and in Russian efforts to undermine democratic institutions in the United States and Europe.

The two men met on the 10th anniversary of the declaration of a strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States. Pompeo said they made progress on countering Russian aggression in Ukraine; bolstering the rule of law and humanitarian issues; and economic and energy security matters.

In an interview with Voice of America’s Ukrainian service Friday, Klimkin predicted that Russia would “try its utmost” to meddle in Ukraine’s presidential and parliamentary elections next year. He accused Russia of spreading “fierce propaganda” and “disinformation.”

“It’s a comprehensive conventional and nonconventional war against Ukraine,” he said.

Klimkin also expressed concern about Russian aggression in the Azov Sea, saying it was “critically important” to keep the peace there.

“We need the support of the international community to bring peace to this important region,” he said.

Klimkin also told VOA that Ukraine was open to any kind of international mission to help the occupied Donbas region. He said Ukrainian citizens have been suffering from Russian occupation there.

“It could be a peacekeeping mission, it could be a police mission, it could be international administration, or all three coming together,” he said, to aid the citizens of the region.

VOA’s Ukrainian service contributed to this report.

Source: VOA news

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