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Blinken heads to Brussels as NATO reaffirms commitment to Ukraine.
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Blinken heads to Brussels as NATO reaffirms commitment to Ukraine.

According to a high-ranking official from the State Department, the United States will be collaborating with other member countries of NATO this week to reaffirm their unwavering support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia’s hostile actions.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Brussels to join the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting from November 27 to 29.

On Wednesday, Blinken will head the American delegation to North Macedonia, a member of NATO, where he will attend a meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the capital city of Skopje later this week.

The upcoming NATO summit will be held in Washington from July 9 to 11, 2024. During this meeting, Blinken and other leaders will address key issues and priorities as the alliance marks its 75th year of existence.

The foreign ministers of the NATO-Ukraine Council.

The top representative of the United States is scheduled to participate in the inaugural ministerial meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, as Kyiv aims to become a member of NATO.

Jim O’Brien, the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, stated that the Council is in favor of Ukraine’s strong alliance with NATO. He also mentioned that allies will persist in aiding Ukraine’s self-defense until Russia ends its aggressive actions.

The NATO-Ukraine Council was established at the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, with the presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other leaders from member countries.

The meeting was held in late July for the second time to talk about the security of the Black Sea after Russia pulled out of an agreement that controlled grain shipments from Ukrainian ports.

The third gathering took place in October to talk about providing significant aid to Ukraine and ensuring that their military is completely compatible with NATO.

The NATO-Ukraine Council is a collaborative organization where both Allies and Ukraine have equal representation in order to promote political discussions.

Western Balkans

During this week’s meeting of NATO foreign ministers, one of the sessions will focus on discussing security and democracy in the Western Balkans.

O’Brien stated that in order to ensure a stable and prosperous future for the Western Balkans, it is crucial to have good governance, uphold the rule of law, maintain a multi-ethnic democracy, and show respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

NATO officials have stated their dedication to upholding a safe and secure atmosphere, as well as aiding in overall stability in the Western Balkans region.

The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, recently issued a warning that Russia has a plan to destabilize the Balkans. This statement was made in response to earlier information provided by Zelenskyy.

On November 21, NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg addressed the audience in Skopje, North Macedonia, as the last destination of his tour in the Western Balkans. He mentioned that the alliance is closely observing Russia’s actions in the area, but assured that there is no current military danger to any NATO member.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, center, accompanied by North Macedonia's Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, center left, review the honor guard squad at the Government building in Skopje, North Macedonia, Nov. 21, 2023.

On November 21, 2023, in Skopje, North Macedonia, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski reviewed the honor guard squad at the Government building.

North Macedonia, OSCE

Following the announcement by the North Macedonian government that they will temporarily lift the flight ban, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on Monday that he will be attending the OSCE foreign ministers meeting in North Macedonia. However, he also mentioned that he would only do so if Bulgaria allows the Russian delegation to use their air space.

The sanctions imposed by North Macedonia on Russia will continue to be enforced for any other air travel.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, several European nations implemented a ban on flights originating from Russia.

O’Brien declined to comment on whether there will be any interaction between Lavrov should he attend the OSCE ministerial and the U.S. delegation but told VOA during a phone briefing that U.S. Secretary of State Blinken will “have a good discussion with” OSCE counterparts about U.S. “support for Ukraine.”

Certain content is sourced from Reuters.