On April 3 in Kyiv there was a Public discussion with the participation of Michael R. Pompeo, 70th US Secretary of State on “US support for Ukraine^ what must be done and why it matters”. There were many questions for the representative. Among the particularly painful: the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, international support for Ukraine, and the future processes of rebuilding the country. Correspondents, media, organizations, and representatives from human rights institutions took part in the event. We also got a glimpse behind the scenes.

One of the main, perhaps, questions that interested the public was the process of reintegration of the Crimean population in the temporarily occupied Crimea after its liberation from the Russian invaders.

Mr. Pompeo highlighted the main goal of the future process, in his view. He believes that combating Russian propaganda and its consequences, together with information security, is the most important goal in the upcoming reintegration issues.

Among other things, the politician noted that it is very important to counter propaganda by presenting truthful information about what is happening in Ukrainian Crimea.

Among other important issues, according to Pompeo, are the use of TikTok as a propaganda and disinformation tool by Russia and China.

“Our counter is to make clear that that information is false and to truthfully demonstrate that every place and always where we can, where we have the capacity to reach”, Pompeo pointed out.

He also noted that the problem of spreading propaganda and the detrimental influence on the population is carried out not only by the aggressor country: “We  see this [propaganda] of Iran.  The Iranians tell their people lies.  This is not just a Russian issue.” In addition, he noted that since the signing of the Declaration about Crimea, the situation has changed for the better today.

Pompeo also commented on Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons. After all, this issue worries many people and is at the forefront of international discourse, given that the aggressor that has deployed tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus will be sitting in the UN Security Council for a month.

Pompeo touched on events before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine: “And I frankly think that’s one of the mistakes that Europe has made … is that they weighed this risk of provocation way too high [with nuclear weapons from russia]”, that the dictator used. Pompeo then added: “So it’s certainly possible that vladimir putin would decide to to take risks…”.

He added: “I think the best way to make sure that the probability of that happening is low is to… end the stand thing… and to provide the tools that you all need… that Ukrainian military needs to prosecute this work”.

Pompeo also spoke about the period when a full-scale invasion of russia was just being discussed and European countries were dependent on russian energy: “I saw a land invasion by vladimir putin as being on my list of things that were likely to happen. But we were very clear to European leaders that this risk was real, that depending on Russian energy put in Europe an enormous amount of risk…vladimir putin views energy as a weapon…And this was ignored…This was ignored by European leaders, and European leaders went down this road. And frankly, Europe got lucky. It had a warm winter…”

The former Secretary of State also touched on the Russian army’s violation of the rules of war. Pompeo believes that “we should overpower them with our conventional understanding of how to use the tools and the rules of war in a way that makes clear that we are different”.

When asked what relations between the U.S. and Russia would look like in the future if putin remained in power, Pompeo speculated: “So I think the relationship is going to continue to be incredibly difficult… we will have to continue to do the hard work to deter vladimir putin… He not only has soldiers in Ukraine today, he has soldiers in Syria supporting the Iranian regime… soldiers in Venezuela propping up the Maduro regime…  He is a force for evil in many places in the world. And I as much as I pray that Ukraine will be victorious soon, the challenge from Russia is likely to continue to remain for all three nations”.

He concluded by reminding us that the Russian dictator will be held accountable for all his crimes: “We’ll all have to find the right tools and the right mechanism. Times are different than they were after World War II.  This is a deeply different time, and we need to make sure that the resolution to hold him accountable for what he has done delivers an appropriate outcome”. He emphasized that accountability for the murders would follow for all authoritarian and totalitarian rulers: “I would remind you, we still haven’t held Xi Jinping responsible… The virus [COVID-19] came from China. And there’s been no accountability for that”, – Pompeo concluded.

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