Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Roundtable on Humanitarian Assistance in Ukraine





MAY 19, 2022

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Liz, thank you.  Thank you for those truly overly generous words.  But the one part of that that’s true is that we’ve had a relationship going back many, many years (inaudible).  It’s something that I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in over many years now.  And I have to tell you I think the mission that you’re leading is arguably more important (inaudible).  It’s something that we’ve known (inaudible) for a long, long time, but the fact of the matter is if we’re not engaged, if the United States is not there, then usually there’s a vacuum that’s going to wind up being filled by bad things before it’s filled by good things.  And you have been promoting, advancing the proposition that U.S. leadership, U.S. engagement, matters.  It makes a difference.

And I think we’ve seen that in the case of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.  I’m proud of the fact that we’ve stood up in terms of our support for Ukraine itself – security, economic, and humanitarian.  I’m proud of the fact that we’ve brought dozens of countries along in exerting necessary pressure on Russia to end the aggression.  And I’m proud of the fact that we’ve also been able to strengthen our own Alliance, our defensive Alliance, NATO.

But having said all of that, I’m equally proud of the extraordinary response that we’re seeing from the private sector, a response some of which I’ve seen firsthand, including in Poland – our friend (inaudible), just to cite one of many, many, many examples – but really stepping up for the Ukrainian people, responding to the extraordinary humanitarian needs that exist, but also beginning this conversation about the longer term and how we think about rebuilding, because the devastation that’s been wrought on Ukraine and big parts of its economy are quite staggering and are going to require a lot.

So I was really anxious to get together with this group.  I’m grateful for the fact that you’ve taken the time to do this today, because it’s an opportunity for us to hear a little bit about what the experience has been to date in finding different ways to support Ukrainian people in Ukraine, but also what your thoughts are for going forward and the extent to which this has shaped your own thinking about engagement on these issues, because something as significant, as dramatic, and as deep-rooted as this also gets us thinking about how we do things (inaudible) to do things going forward.

So I’m really grateful for this conversation and anxious to be listening in order to hear from each of you, so thank you.