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VOA Eastern Europe Chief Interviews US Secretary of State During Kyiv Visit

U.S. Secretary of State responds to questions from VOA Eastern Europe Chief Myroslava Gongadze.

Voice of America’s Eastern Europe Chief, Myroslava Gongadze, interviewed U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken shortly after he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on January 19, 2022.

With an estimated 100,000 Russian troops currently poised at the border, the top U.S. diplomat had told Zelenskiy that Russia will face “very severe consequences” if those troops attack Ukraine.

"When you think about it, President Putin, going back to 2014, has managed to precipitate what he says he wants to prevent,” Blinken told Gongadze. “Because among other things, NATO had to reinforce itself after Russia invaded Ukraine, seized Crimea, the Donbass after, after that happened.”

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks to VOA News in Kyiv.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks to VOA News in Kyiv.

Blinken told VOA that should “Russia renew its aggression,” the U.S. and many European countries will hit Russia with extensive sanctions, that the U.S will provide more “defensive military assistance” to Ukraine, and that NATO will reinforce its defenses on its eastern flank.

The secretary of state’s message was seen live both in Ukraine and Russia on VOA’s social media platforms. The interview was also carried live on VOA’s English language website.

The VOA Ukrainian Service broadcast the interview, with simultaneous Ukrainian translation, on its Facebook channel to its 329,000 followers. Shortly after the interview ended, the Ukrainian service also posted the interview on its YouTube channel.

The interview also appeared live on the Facebook pages of several VOA TV affiliates in the country, notably on Ukraine 24, a widely watched TV channel in Kyiv which provided VOA with a three-camera set up for the interview.

The VOA Russian Service also ran the interview live with simultaneous translation, both on its YouTube channel and on its Facebook page with 1.1 million followers.

The Russian program Current Time, a joint Radio Free Europe/VOA effort, will carry portions of the interview, as will the Ukraine Service daily prime time program, “Chas Time." RFE/RL also put portions of the VOA interview on its news web site.

As Blinken heads to Germany later this week and then on to Gemeva to continue his diplomacy surrounding the crisis, Gongadze will continue reporting on the secretary’s diplomatic efforts in English and Ukrainian. Gongadze, who was appointed to the new position last month, is one of the most well-known journalists in Ukraine.

VOA Ukraine reaches a weekly audience of 2.4 million people on TV and its web site.