In an interview with the Ukrainian broadcaster TSN, the minister elaborated on the details on his talks in Washington. In particular, according to Klimkin, he was concerned about the possibility of the US increasing pressure on Russia over the Donbass conflict. In addition to new sanctions, the sides discussed the possibility of sending "new powerful political messages" to Moscow.
Apparently, Kiev expects the issue will be on the agenda during the upcoming NATO summit on May 25 or a G7 meeting on May 26-27. Klimkin said those ideas were "interesting" and added they were aimed at countering the "systemic threat" posed by Russia.
"One of the main political signals is the real intention to be engaged in mounting pressure on Russia. There are some very interesting ideas," Klimkin said, commenting on the conversation with Trump.
"Of course, there are economic leverage tools and sanctions. But it is only one of the dimensions," he added.
Meanwhile, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert underscored that Washington will not remove the anti-Russian sanctions imposed in 2014.
"On Ukraine, Secretary Tillerson stressed the need for progress toward full implementation of the Minsk agreements. Sanctions on Russia will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them," Nauert said in a statement.
On Friday, Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Valery Chaliy said that Washington reaffirmed that it would make no decision "behind Ukraine’s back."
"There will be no decisions behind Ukraine’s back. They reaffirmed. These meetings show that this is a clear strategy of the new US presidential administration," the diplomat said.
According to Chaliy, the meeting with Trump and Pence was initiated by the Ukrainian side and indicated Washington’s support for Kiev.
Member of the Ukrainian Parliament (Rada) Andrii Artemenko wrote on Facebook that the meeting had not been planned in advance, but was arranged to compensate for the meeting between President Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which took place a day earlier.
On Friday, Klimkin denied that the Foreign Ministry paid lobbyists for the meeting.
"I definitely do not use lobbyists or others for organizing meetings; this is my principle," Klimkin said at a press briefing.
According to a White House press release, Pence told Klimkin that while the US would continue to offer "unwavering…support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," it also considered "that the Minsk agreements remain the most viable path toward peace."
The visit of the Ukrainian foreign minister to Washington came after US media recently reported that the US may decrease assistance to Ukraine. In late-April, Foreign Policy magazine reported on a State Department document detailing US plans to cut its economic assistance to Ukraine by 68.8 percent in 2018. The proposed drop in spending would see assistance fall from the currently allotted $570 million to just $177 million.
Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!