Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

US Secretary of State Blinken made a surprise visit to Ukraine to meet Volodymyr Zelensky

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken began an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Tuesday to boost ties and reaffirm US support to Kiev amid its ongoing war with Russia.

“I return to Kyiv today to demonstrate our unwavering support for Ukraine as they defend their freedoms against Russian aggression,” Secretary Blinken said in a statement, sharing details of his arrival in Kyiv on X.

Additionally, US State Department official spokesperson Matthew Miller also shared that Secretary Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior leaders to discuss battlefield updates.

He posted on Twitter, “While in Kiev, Secretary met with President Zelensky and Ukrainian senior leaders to discuss battlefield updates, the impact of new U.S. security and economic assistance, and ongoing work to promote Ukraine’s economic recovery. Will meet the leaders.”

The visit comes as the United States has announced a US$400 million military aid package for Ukraine, as the country is in desperate need of Western aid amid increasing pressure from Russia, The Hill reports.

The package is the third for Kyiv after the US passed a national security supplement last month, which included US$61 billion for Kyiv.

The new package includes Patriot air defense munitions and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which are critical to defending Ukraine’s skies and keeping its cities safe, The Hill reported Friday.

The report said other equipment included more high mobility artillery rocket systems and 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, which Ukraine desperately needed to deter Russian attacks on the front lines as Moscow has the advantage in artillery fire. .

The US is also providing Javelin missiles, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, M113 armored personnel carriers, patrol boats and standard small arms ammunition, grenades and demolition munitions.

Notably, this announcement follows the passage of an initial US$1 billion package in late April, shortly after President Biden signed the National Security Supplement Bill into law. It came after Congress negotiated for months on new aid for Ukraine.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also announced a US$6 billion package for Ukraine, which will require Kiev to purchase equipment from the defense industrial base before delivery, The Hill reports.

As Russia increases pressure on the eastern border, making significant advances in the Donetsk region, U.S. aid will play a key role in the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The announcement comes after a fresh attack launched by Russia in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, putting even more pressure on the Ukrainian military.

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