Saturday, 10 June, 2023

Blinken to address Ukraine war from new NATO member Finland

Blinken to address Ukraine war from new NATO member Finland

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will next week visit new NATO member Finland where he will deliver a speech championing Ukraine's defense against Russia, the State Department said Friday.

Blinken will travel on June 1-2 to Helsinki after a meeting of the Western alliance's foreign ministers in Oslo. He will first visit Sweden, which is also seeking to join NATO, and will meet all three countries' prime ministers.

In Helsinki, Blinken will meet deliver a speech "to highlight all the ways in which Russia's aggression against Ukraine has been a strategic failure," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

Blinken will outline "our continued efforts to support Ukraine's defense of its territory, sovereignty and democracy in pursuit of a just and durable peace," he said.

The Oslo meeting will prepare for a summit of NATO leaders in July in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Several former Soviet bloc NATO members are seeking formal commitments to Ukraine at the summit, even if a formal offer to join looks distant.

Finland officially joined NATO in April.

Blinken's visit in Sweden will be to the northern city of Lulea where he will take part in talks of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council, which among other issues has looked to set common standards in the face of China's advances.