In their first official visit to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion two months ago, the US’s top diplomat and defense secretary offered further military aid, including modern weapons, as well as the return of US envoys to Kyiv. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials in Kyiv late on Sunday. Blinken said on Monday the United States will reopen its embassy in Ukraine soon.
Both US officials said the fact they were able to come to Kyiv was proof of Ukraine’s tenacity in forcing Moscow to abandon an assault on the capital last month.
“What you’ve done in repelling the Russians in the battle of Kyiv is extraordinary and inspiring quite frankly to the rest of the world,” Austin told President Volodymyr Zelensky at a meeting overnight after a train journey from Poland. “We are here to support you in any way possible.”
“The reason we’re back is because of you, because of the extraordinary courage, leadership, and success that you’ve had in pushing back this horrific Russian aggression,” Blinken mentioned.
The meeting between the U.S. delegation and Ukraine’s leaders ran for three hours. “In terms of Russia’s war aims, Russia has already failed and Ukraine has already succeeded,” Blinken told a briefing in Poland after returning.
U.S. officials stated that the cabinet secretaries pledged new aid worth $713 million for the Ukrainian government and other countries in the region that are fearful of further Russian aggression. An extra $322 million in military aid for Ukraine would take the total U.S. security assistance since the invasion to about $3.7 billion.
“It will provide support for capabilities Ukraine needs, especially the fight in the Donbas,” the official stated. It would also help Ukraine’s armed forces transition to more advanced weapons and air defense systems that were essentially NATO compatible, he further added.