What does it look like with American aid to Ukraine? The Senate, where the financial package is awaiting approval, is newly led by Republican Mike Johnson in the role of chairman. From what we know about him so far, he opposes further arms deliveries to Ukraine…
President Joe Biden has made it clear: The United States is firmly committed to helping Ukraine fight Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression. What is remarkable is the international coalition we have managed to create.
- Deputy for European and Euro-Atlantic Affairs of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
- Coulter is in charge of the Central European region and she chose the Czech Republic for her first foreign trip in the position.
- She came at the invitation of the EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, took part in the event called “Taking Stock of Transatlantic Relations” organized together with the Atlantic Council and the American Embassy in Prague as part of the Transatlantic Policy Forum conference. She also met with Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates).
For example, the Czech Republic has been a key ally and leader in responding to Ukraine’s needs. And this not only with regard to accepting the most Ukrainian refugees per inhabitant, but also for military supplies. This is one of the many areas in which the United States and the Czech Republic stand as strong allies.
Can you quantify American aid?
I may not be able to do this, but I will repeat again that the USA is firmly committed to helping Ukraine. There are currently discussions in Congress about what additional aid should look like, it’s a lively conversation. But I can assure you that there is a very strong understanding that we must support Ukraine and we will do so.
I ask this because the United States is the largest donor of aid to Ukraine. Can’t a blocked situation hurt it?
In the United States, we are proud of the help we have offered to Ukraine. One point that we’re trying to bring to the current conversation and we want the American people to understand is that we’re not alone.
The fact is that the commitments of our NATO allies are huge and significant. If we look at humanitarian aid, it is twice as much from these countries as what America provides. What I mean by that is that it’s not just an American thing, it’s not just an issue for the United States, it’s really a global alliance and I think it’s going to stay that way.
The importance of the relationship with Russia
How does the United States communicate with Russia? Are you in any connection with the Russian authorities?
Bilateral communication with the Russian Federation is extremely difficult. Communication with the Russian authorities is irregular. And this despite the fact that the United States is determined to maintain communication channels for diplomatic dialogue. We think it’s important to be able to talk to the Russians about things that are key. But I do not feel that the Russian authorities share this view.
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Is there an American embassy in Moscow?
Yes, we have an American ambassador in Moscow, we have a diplomatic mission there, our embassy is there. The Russians also have their embassy in the United States.
Although bilateral relations are not what they used to be—for obvious reasons—the United States believes in the importance of maintaining opportunities for diplomatic discourse. This is because when you talk to your partners, it can help reduce the scope for misunderstandings or misunderstandings.
Having an embassy in Russia or a Russian embassy in a country in the West is one thing. But the second is to have an ambassador directly on the spot. For example, in the Czech Republic there is now a lively debate about whether a new ambassador should head to Moscow. How do you see it?
Which diplomatic representation to send to the site is something that each government must decide for itself. I will speak for the United States: for us, even if we are not in a positive stage right now, the relationship with Russia is simply important. Which is why we have an ambassador in Moscow.
What are the disadvantages of not having an ambassador?
I think that the role of a diplomat in any country is to learn more about the state in which he is working. So that the politicians in the capital cities can understand the local culture as best as possible. If you don’t have diplomats on the ground, you lose perspective, which is very important in shaping policies.
A unified attitude towards Ukraine
Do you think it will improve at some point? Or does it depend on Russia having to lose the war in Ukraine first?
What we are sure of is that Russia must be held accountable for the invasion of Ukraine. It is clear from the statement of the Russian cabinet that it is not currently possible for them to hold any debates on this topic. But Russia must respect international law and norms.
Can diplomats change anything tangible at this stage? When I look at the situation on the battlefield, the progress of the Ukrainians is not significant, nor are the Russians making any significant progress, rather the conflict seems to be freezing. But do you see any diplomatic levers that could be used to influence Russia?
I’m not a military strategist or an expert, but what I do know is that the role of diplomats and the conversations we have are absolutely focused on supporting the Ukrainians. This is something I believe we are strong and united in.
We do this in the United States, together with our counterparts in the Czech Republic, but it not only strengthens the alliance between our two countries, it also takes place between other European countries, across the NATO alliance.
The US will supply more weapons to Ukraine. In addition to HIMARS and Javelin missiles, these are winter equipment or spare parts
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You are talking about an alliance within NATO. In Prague, you met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský (Pirates), did you discuss possible developments either in supplies or the development of the war in Ukraine?
If there is one thing that Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine has done, it is a demonstration of the incredible strength of the transatlantic alliance and relationship that we have.
The United States and the Czech Republic share joint actions. We perceive that this is not only an issue that affects Ukrainians, but it applies to European and transatlantic security. I can assure you that in the USA we appreciate not only the cooperation and partnership with the Czech Republic when it comes to supporting Ukraine, but the alliance as such, because it has never been stronger.
Support for Israel
Can the West sustain attention and support in two wars going on at once? In June it will be two years since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, and a month ago Hamas attacked Israel again.
Without a doubt, this is an extremely difficult period. But the United States and our allies will continue to support both conflicts.
I realize that Minister Lipavský was the first Western politician to visit Israel, it is a great demonstration of Czech support and commitment to the Israeli people. Together at the meeting, we discussed not only the need to support Israel, but also the need for assurances that the people of Gaza will receive humanitarian aid.
So would you say that the support of Israel from both the American and the Czech sides, and at the same time the commitment to continue supporting Ukraine, is something that unites the USA and the Czech Republic?
I know we have this in common. The United States and the Czech Republic are experiencing the deepest relationship they have ever had. We see this not only in support of Israel or Ukraine, but also in defense cooperation. Czech decision to buy F-35 (American fighter planes, editor’s note) is significant, it not only means buying the best technology, it also helped to confirm the defense partnership we have been building for decades.
We are also working on energy cooperation. A tender for the completion of the nuclear power plant is underway. For the United States, I believe Westinghouse has the best offer. But of course the final decision will be up to the Czech government.
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