The United States remains committed to Ukraine's independence and will stand with the nation against any aggression from Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.
"I'm really here in Ukraine with a message for the Ukrainian people and for our Ukrainian partners," Blinken, who is in Kyiv on a trip intended to show Washington's support for Ukraine, told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "A big part of that message is our commitment to Ukraine’s independence, its territorial integrity, its sovereignty. We stand with them, including against any aggression from Russia."
The Biden administration also stands with Ukraine as it works to reform its democracy, Blinken said.
"President [Joe] Biden wanted me to come here as soon as I could to send that strong message," Blinken said. "He'd already had a very good conversation with President [Volodymyr] Zelensky on the phone a few weeks ago, but now we're here, showing up in person, and delivering the same message."
There has been a massive buildup of forces on Ukraine's border, with more Russian forces deployed there than at any time since 2014, when Russia invaded and took over Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine and Donbas, Blinken added.
"Some of those forces have pulled back, but significant forces remain," he said. "What we're doing is making clear our commitment to helping Ukraine defend itself with security assistance, with advice, other allies and partners are doing the same, and also making clear that as happened after 2014, the international community is resolutely against any Russian aggression, reckless actions in Ukraine."
The secretary also discussed the growing aggressions coming from China and said the administration has made it clear, while it is not trying to contain China or hold it back, it is determined to uphold international order.
"When anyone takes actions that undermine their word, when they don't play by the rules, when they renege on commitments, whether it's in the commercial area, whether it's on human rights or anything that undermines that order, we're going to stand up and defend it, and what I've heard in conversations with countries around the world is they're determined to do the same thing," Blinken said.
Blinken added, the administration has already taken steps where Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Uyghur situations are concerned and insisted actions are more strong when taken with U.S. allies.
The secretary further discussed the decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan, and when asked if the United States will stand by if the Taliban starts taking away rights of women and girls, said any Afghan state that does that will be considered "a pariah" and will not have support from the international community.
Even with troops being pulled the United States is not disengaging from Afghanistan, said Blinken, as "we're going to continue strong support, economic development assistance, humanitarian, support for their security forces."
Meanwhile, talks are continuing concerning reentering the Iran nuclear deal, but the United States does not know yet if Iran is ready to make the decisions needed to return to full compliance, Blinken said.
"They, unfortunately, have continued to take steps that are restarting dangerous parts of their program that the nuclear agreement stopped, and the jury is out on whether they're prepared to do what's necessary," he said.
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