WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday carrying a tough anti-graft message and strong U.S. backing for the country’s response to Russian aggression. Blinken has also brought along a familiar face in the long-running Washington-Moscow tug-of-war over Ukraine: Victoria Nuland, now the No. 3 State Department official.
The stop is intended to demonstrate America’s continued commitment to Ukraine as it copes with Russia’s support for separatists and a buildup of troops along its eastern border, as well as to press Kyiv on corruption. It comes at a time of heightened U.S. tensions with Russia not only on Ukraine but also because of U.S. criticism of Russia over human rights, hacking and interference in elections. Both countries recently ordered tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.