Administration

Bill Clinton: Albright stressed defense of Ukraine in last call

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks during a memorial service
Associated Press/Zach Gibson
In this Oct. 6, 2016, file photo, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks during a memorial service for former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

Former President Clinton said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stressed the need to defend Ukraine in their final conversation two weeks before her death.

Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during an interview on Wednesday, the day Albright died, that the former secretary of state “spent the entire conversation talking about how Ukraine had to be defended” when they spoke two weeks earlier.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been ongoing for the past month. It began on Feb. 24 when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation in the country. 

“She just wanted to support whatever we could do to back Ukraine. And that’s all she wanted to talk about. She — she was happy. She was upbeat,” Clinton saod.

Albright’s family announced her death on Wednesday. She was 84 years old and died of cancer.

Clinton named Albright his secretary of state in 1997, marking the first time a woman had ever held the post. She served in the position until Clinton departed the White House in 2001.

Clinton on Wednesday said Albright, a Czech refugee whose family members died in the Holocaust, believed that Putin’s claims that Ukraine was a Nazi country were “patently absurd.”

Putin has said Russian forces need to intervene in Ukraine to stop the Nazification of the country that is led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish.

“She said, you know, they’re not going after NATO yet. And that the Ukrainians had clearly proved that they didn’t want to be part of Russia, that they — and the idea that Putin was trying to sell the argument that a country with a Jewish president was actually a Nazi country was patently absurd,” Clinton said.

The former president said Albright, who also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during his administration, “was in strong voice and her mind was sharp as a tack” when they spoke two weeks before her death.

“She didn’t want to venture into her health challenges. She said I’m being treated. I’m doing the best I can. The main thing we can all do now is to think about the world we want to live for our — leave for our kids,” Clinton added.

Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remembered Albright in a statement on Wednesday, calling her “one of the finest Secretaries of State, an outstanding UN Ambassador, a brilliant professor, and an extraordinary human being.”

“Hillary and I will always be deeply grateful for the wonderful friendship we shared and the unfailingly wise counsel she gave us over so many years,” the pair added.

Bill Clinton on Wednesday told Blitzer about the close relationship between Albright and Hillary Clinton, who went on to become the second female secretary of state in U.S. history.

The former president said Hillary and Albright were “close friends” and “almost soulmates.”

Tags Albright death Bill Clinton Hillary Clinton invasion Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin
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