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Monday, May 27, 2024

Secretary of State Blinken Reaffirms U.S. Support for Ukraine Amid Russian Advances

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday morning, embarking on an unannounced visit aimed at reaffirming American support for Ukraine. However, the visit may be overshadowed by recent Russian military gains in the country’s northeast.

This trip marks Mr. Blinken’s fourth visit to Kyiv since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Arriving by overnight train from eastern Poland, his visit comes approximately three weeks after President Biden signed a $60 billion aid package for Ukraine, following months of deliberation and infighting among House Republicans.

During his visit, Mr. Blinken plans to deliver a speech celebrating the substantial influx of American aid to Ukraine. He intends to portray Russia’s failed attempt to gain control of the country as a strategic victory for Ukraine, according to a senior U.S. official. Additionally, Mr. Blinken will emphasize that Ukraine must continue making progress on democratic governance and anti-corruption reforms to integrate further with the West.

For months, President Biden and Secretary Blinken had warned of the consequences of Congress’s delay in approving crucial U.S. arms, which left Ukraine’s military vulnerable along the eastern battlefront. While the U.S. official declined to directly link the delayed aid to Russia’s recent gains near Kharkiv, it is evident that the funding gap weakened Ukraine’s military, which faces shortages of ammunition and critical equipment.

Despite these challenges, the official noted that Ukrainian forces have held their ground and inflicted casualties on the Russians. With U.S. assistance flowing into the country, Ukraine is expected to make further gains.

During his visit, Mr. Blinken plans to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials. However, it remains unclear whether Russia was notified in advance of Mr. Blinken’s visit. Russian forces have frequently targeted Kyiv with missiles and drones.

Mr. Blinken’s visit marks the first by a senior Biden administration official since the passage of the congressional aid package. Previously, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with President Zelensky in Kyiv in late March, prior to the aid’s approval.

Secretary Blinken’s visit underscores the continued commitment of the United States to support Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. As Ukraine navigates through challenging circumstances, American assistance remains pivotal in bolstering its defense capabilities and advancing democratic reforms.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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