US State Department Official: Ukraine No Longer ‘Client State’ of Russia

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US State Department - Sputnik International
Ukraine is currently not a client state of Russia, but was a client state under the previous government of President Viktor Yanukovych, a US Department of State official said on Wednesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko shake hands during the luncheon at the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 28, 2015 - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Ukraine is currently not a client state of Russia, but was a client state under the previous government of President Viktor Yanukovych, a US Department of State official told reporters.

On Tuesday, during his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said Ukraine was a Russian client state that was "slipping away" from Moscow’s orbit.

"He [Obama] was referring to under the previous government that it was a client state," the official said on Wednesday when asked why the United States considers Ukraine a Russian client state.

Shortly after the State of the Union address, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Steve Pifer called Obama’s client state reference an "odd line" in a tweet, while US Congressman Peter Roskam also took to Twitter to criticize the remark.

"Calling our friend and ally Ukraine a Russian ‘client state’ shows an alarming lack of understanding of geopolitical realities," Roskam tweeted.

Obama also claimed during his speech that continued US and allied support for Kiev was essential not just for Ukraine, but for maintaining the stability of the entire international order.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone conversation with Obama reiterated that Kiev must fully implement the Minsk peace agreements and seek direct dialogue with the country’s east.

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