tv Secretary Mattis Holds Joint News Conference with Ukrainian President CSPAN August 25, 2017 3:19am-3:46am EDT
orwell was a real leftist all his life but admired churchill and wrote he was the only conservative he admired. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on "q&a." >> defense secretary james mattis held a joint news conference with the president of ukraine in kiev. secretary mattis reiterated that the u.s. would continue to put pressure on russia to withdraw troops from the ukrainian territory. this is 25 minutes.
president poroshenko: it is great that you would come to ukraine for the celebration of our independence day. today, we have this important and symbolic visit. this is not just the visit of the secretary of defense of the united states that we haven't had for 10 years. this is the visit for celebration of the independence day. your participation in the military parade today, when the representatives of our allied countries together with the ukrainian military servicemen marched in the parade testifies our unity and our solidarity. i'm still under the impression after our meeting on american soil as for the level of trust, the understanding, the candid nature and fairness -- and really from the first minutes of my visit in washington experienced that and felt mr. secretary is a real and genuine friend of ukraine.
it is really symbolic on the number of clocks in the office of the secretary, the kiev time was just in front of him. that prioritizes the cooperation with ukraine. during today's negotiations, we touched upon the counteraction against the aggression of the russian federation against ukraine and that was the key topic and our common challenge. i kept mr. secretary informed about the security situation in the region. the day before yesterday, we had the meeting with representatives of the oec and we had a very important telephone talk. we have reached an agreement. starting from today, the 25th of august, to declare the
cease-fire of that occasion. we issued a public statement. we rely on a very responsible position of the russian federation as for the strict compliance with the cease-fire. i would like to thank mr. secretary for clear support of the u.s. administration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity and independence of our country. it is an absolutely clear-cut position. i want to emphasize the fact that mr. walker is present in ukraine negotiations, special envoy of the united states for ukraine, it is another confirmation of the very
substance, the concrete nature of our talk and negotiations. i'd like to extend -- to welcome the decisiveness of mr. walker's attempts. we hope on your great support in this case and we hope for your very good cooperation. i want to say if moscow does not want to waste another chance on our negotiations, i'm confident that moscow should keep -- which is observed by all participants.
this is the implementation of the security package, cease-fire of all russian forces. to ensure the immediate halt of forces in the territory and to ensure the access of the oec observers on the whole territory, including the territory which is not controlled by the ukrainian government. it's also very much important to talk about the release of hostages. as of today, we verified 130 hostages. you may know that in donetsk, i had meeting with relatives of the hostages, those in the
occupied territories as well as those in the territory of the russian federation. we demand immediate progress on the release of the hostages. last but not the least, we exchanged our views with mr. secretary as for the presence of the international troops. we are talking about the deployment of possible peacekeeping operations of united nations with a mandate of the u.n. security council in certain regions of donetsk. we stress of that such presence will facilitate the security and to get back on the political track. of course, it will not be complete. we have not touched upon the issue of crimea. i'm grateful to mr. secretary for the clear and infallible position. crimea has been and will remain a ukrainian territory. it belongs to ukraine and should come back to ukraine.
there is no other way to stop the territory of non-freedom into the military base. it does not exist. i expressed my gratitude to the u.s. administration for the restrictive measures that confirms that the united states stands ready to be the leader in the transatlantic front. we hope that the kremlin will heed to the international community, will stop its provocations and facilitate stabilization. otherwise, i say that the price of the aggression will be higher. i'd like to say also that sanctions is not a name in itself but just a tool, an instrument to get russia back at
the table of negotiations and to secure the implementation of the minsk process. i'm confident that this is the only possible way for the situation to develop for us. today, we continue talking about the defense support of ukraine, about the strengthening of the existing military operation. i thanked our american partners. first of all, for the military assistance that we have had from the first minutes of the aggression. we are very satisfied with the level of preparation of the ukrainian servicemen. the support of advisors and defense and security. we agreed to make it also the operative level in the framework of the transatlantic cooperation, the nato cooperation, and the cyber security against cybercrime, and on many other issues. i would like to say that ukraine being the country that renounced the third-largest nuclear
arsenal which has unique technologies. on rocket building -- we strictly keep our obligations and it is important for us that the safeguards ukraine received are complied with. i would like to touch upon approach is that we share proposed by president trump, a new strategy of the united states regarding afghanistan. on our side, i confirmed contribution to realization of the strategy in the interest of peace and security. time and again, mr. secretary, i would like to thank you for your visit, for your presence, for your participation in the
military parade in ukraine. this is the position of a real and genuine friend of ukraine. thank you very much indeed. sec. mattis: good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and what a day. this is a day that will live long in my memory. to feel the refreshing sense of independence, of freedom, and a reminder to me as an american not to take something for granted because our country has had it for so long. mr. president, it is an honor to stand alongside you on your independence day. i have no doubt that the united states stands with ukraine in
all things. we support you in the face of threats to sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to international law and the international order at large. we do not and will not accept russia's seizure of the crimea. despite russia's denials, we know they are seeking to redraw international borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of europe. russia put its reputation on the line when it accepted the minsk cease-fire agreement which called for an immediate cease-fire, withdrawal of all the heavy weapons, and to grant the organization for security and cooperation in europe unfettered access under the minsk agreement. in 1994, russia sign the budapest memorandum. along the united states, the united kingdom and ukraine. that provided ukraine with assurances that all parties would respect its independence, sovereignty and existing borders.
in that memorandum, russia also promised to refrain from the threat or use of force in exchange for the ukraine's relinquishment of nuclear weapons. once again, under the 1997 nato russia founding act, russia agreed to refrain from the threat or use of force against each other or any other state in sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence. unfortunately, russia is not adhering to the letter, much less the spirit of these international commitments. the u.s. and our allies will continue to press russia to honor its minsk commitments and our sanctions will remain in place until moscow reverses the actions that triggered them. as president trump has made
clear, the united states remains committed to diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in eastern ukraine. i too am especially pleased to be here today with the u.s. special representative. ambassador volker is coordinating closely with our allies in these efforts. as secretary tillerson, our secretary of state, said in july, the united states' goals are to restore ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to seek the safety and security of all ukrainian citizens regardless of nationality, ethnicity or religion. we in the united states understand the strategic challenges associated with russian aggression. alongside our allies, we remain committed to upholding the widely accepted international norms that have increased global stability since the tragedy of world war ii. mr. president, we continue to support ukraine and remain committed to defend the country and protect the ukrainian people. we applaud the ukraine's commitment to reform and modernize its defense sector according to nato standards. this will make ukraine's forces more operationally effective as well as more effective protectors of the ukrainian
people. we look forward to the full implementation of nato standards in the midst of this conflict you are currently fighting. the united states and ukraine are cultivating a lasting strategic partnership already 25 years in the making, built on common security interests and shared principles. i look forward to continuing to build on that partnership which we have strengthened in june when president trump hosted you, mr. president, at the white house and reinforced today during our meetings here in this beautiful historic city. thank you again, mr. president. >> now it is time for questions. one question from each side. first goes to the ukrainian side. >> my question is on defense. it is about your discussion
about strengthening the defense assistance to ukraine, did you discuss the possibility of providing a defense or lethal weapons to ukraine? can we expect a decision from the united states? and actually, which are the factors that dictate a final decision? i'd like to ask mr. president, did you have discussions with mr. sarkov? what were his impressions, what were the results of your meetings with him and what will be the further steps of the united states towards the minsk process? president poroshenko: if you allow, i will start -- really, we talked all sides of our cooperation with united states of america, including rendering to ukraine. the enlargement of our defense
capabilities, cooperation and military and technical sector -- i would divide this question into two parts. first part, really, back during my visit, we agreed that we would have a very active dialogue regarding the defense capabilities of ukraine. it is not about only the rendering of lethal weapons, but the revving up of defense capabilities.
electronic defense, the means to intensify the capabilities of our defense forces. well, talking over these issues requires silence. today, i would abstain from commenting on the topic on these issues, but i would like to say that being the president of ukraine, i'm satisfied the level of our negotiation and cooperation. we see a clear-cut position of our strategic partner and ally, the united states of america. i'm very satisfied as the president of ukraine. and regarding ambassador walker, i would like to welcome the
activities of ambassador walker. i would like to say we are very much satisfied with the appointment of such an experienced analyst, diplomat. i'm sure that the interaction and cooperation we are having today in the level of ministry of foreign affairs, the representatives of my administration can testify to a very high activity of mr. walker, including during the meeting with mr. sarkov. sec. mattis: regarding the relationship that we have, the strategic relationship, i believe that no relationship stays the same. it either gets weaker or stronger. by being here, i'm making a statement that we intend to strengthen the relationship between our two countries. i need to come here to better understand the situation your soldiers face on the front lines. this permits me better informed to go back and advocate for what i believe you need as brought to me by your minister of defense
and certainly your president. for example, we just approved very recently, last couple of weeks, another $175 million worth of equipment, including some specialized equipment that can be used to help defend the country. bringing to a total of nearly $750 million in the last several years. we are in this very, very much in support of you. i would also point out on the defensive lethal weapons, we are actively reviewing it. i will go back now having seen the current situation and be able to inform the secretary of state and the president in very specific terms what i recommend for the direction ahead. thank you. >> and the question from the american side. "new york times."
>> thank you. i would -- michael gordon, "new york times." i would like to take another crack at that question that was just asked. first for secretary mattis, you made some very strong comments here about russian aggression, supporting the ukrainian armed forces. the previous question was about what actions are going to come from the united states. it has been reported already in the united states that the state department and defense department do support the provision of javelin and defensive lethal arms to ukraine and that the matter is before the white house. the question is will president trump himself support it? my question is do you, as a matter of principle, believe that providing defensive lethal weapons like javelin to ukraine can raise, increase deterrence with regards to russia or do you accept the obama administration's argument that such measures could be provocative? for president poroshenko, you discussed the cease-fire for an international audience, in your estimation, how many russian forces currently are in eastern ukraine?
what specific steps you would like to see the russians take in coming days? thank you. >> thank you. sec. mattis: defensive weapons are not provocative unless you are an aggressor. clearly, ukraine is not an aggressor since it is its own territory where the fighting is happening. as far as my discussions with the commander in chief, with the president, i owe him some confidentiality on that. i prefer not to answer that right now. mr. president? president poroshenko: i want to support what the secretary said. we demonstrate a very high level of responsibility.
when we have any defensive opportunity, including what we have from the united states. we have our own antitank weapons. having a discussion about supply to ukraine and defensive weapons could be just to increase the price if russia made the decision to attack my troops in my territory. that would be strong motivation to stop them from the very irresponsible step. i can consider that exactly like this. at the same time, i thank you for your question about the importance of the cease-fire, so-called back-to-school
cease-fire, which was approved. what specific step we are waiting from russia -- point number one, to withdraw russian troops. and information of our intelligence confirmed by our partners, minimum number of russian troops now, regular troops now being on the occupied territory is about 3000. among 39,000 of the troops which are on the occupied territory, we have also a russian commander starting from the platoon company, lieutenant commander -- all of them representing members of the russian regular troops. from one point, this is extremely dangerous. from another point, we can find out if it is something positive, that they are very well operated by russian federation. that is why they are rising up at the same time the responsibility of the russian federation and russian ability to keep the cease-fire. and practical step, withdraw russian troops. provide uninterrupted access of the special mission of oec to
the whole territory, including the border. withdraw and stop the supply of armament through the uncontrolled part of the russian border. and the progress in releasing the hostages. this is the first step of the security package. we should be expecting immediately. the progress for the international presence, including the possible presence of the u.n. peacekeepers, which would be a guarantee for fulfilling the obligation which would be the implementation of the minsk agreement. >> thank you very much. thank you very much indeed. >> superintendent and other school district leaders from across the country will meet to look at some of the challenges facing urban schools. this conference is hosted by howard university and the school superintendents association. live coverage begins at 9:30
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