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Wess Mitchell, speaks at the Atlantic Council on October 18, 2018. Photo: atlanticcouncil.org

Wess Mitchell: Dangers to Ukraine and Georgia Direct and Existential

Wess Mitchell, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, was quoted while speaking at the Atlantic Council on October 18 that it is important to see the success of Georgia and Ukraine “as independent, democratic entities,” and that U.S. has “a very deep stake in that.”

“First and foremost, we have to nurture the aspirations for democracy in the institutions that are growing in these counties and see the success of the reform agenda, because if we can’t succeed in that, fine, I think we lose overall,” he said.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State spoke at the Atlantic Council’s event Championing the Frontlines of Freedom: Erasing the “Grey Zone,” stressing that U.S. will respect “the national independence and sovereignty” of its allies.

“As Secretary [Mike] Pompeo has made clear, we stand by Ukraine and Georgia, a fact that is demonstrated by the aid and arms we have made available to these states. As we have in past decades, America continues to help those who help themselves in the struggle for freedom,” he said.

Mitchell then spoke of “today’s geopolitical competition” in Central and Eastern Europe where “America’s rivals are expanding their political, military, and commercial influence,” with Russia remaining as “a military factor” in the region, “following the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine.”

He believes, “the dangers to Ukraine and Georgia are direct and existential, comprising both military threats to territorial integrity and sovereignty, and efforts to unravel the democratic institutions that their citizens are attempting to build.”

Mitchell reiterated that U.S. sees Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia as part of Georgia, and that “there will not be a doorway to return the business as usual with Russia and its relations with the West” until it fulfils its international commitments.

He also emphasized that NATO remains committed to Georgia’s future in the Alliance, but “that process in not something that happens overnight.”

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