we Secretary of State Anthony Blinken And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin They traveled to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Sunday, where they met President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials, making them the highest ranking US officials to have traveled to the country since Russia began its invasion.
Here are the main moments that will come from this visit:
Blinken said US diplomats will return to Ukraine this weekA senior US State Department official said, describing the move as a strong message of solidarity from the United States.
As part of the resumed US diplomatic presence in Ukraine, the diplomats will begin “with daily flights to Lviv” and “will move to potentially other parts of the country and, eventually, to resume presence in Kyiv,” according to a senior State Department official. .
Austin: “We want to see Russia weaken” While in Kyiv, Blinken and Austin met with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Interior Minister Denis Monastresky in a bilateral meeting that extended for about 90 minutes, the senior State Department official said. The Secretary of Defense outlines some of the United States’ goals as the country continues to support Ukraine’s war effort.
“We want to see Russia weaken to the point where it can’t do the things it did in invading Ukraine,” Austin said at a news conference in an undisclosed location in Poland near the Ukrainian border after the flight to Kyiv. . “So they’ve already lost a lot of military capabilities. And a lot of their forces, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the ability to reproduce that ability very quickly.”
More aid to Ukraine Blinken and Austin discussed the Biden administration’s intent to provide $713 million in additional foreign military funding to Ukraine and allied European and Balkan partners, according to a senior State Department official and a senior Defense Department official.
US President Joe Biden announced on Monday that he would do so Bridget Brink’s nomination As US ambassador to Ukraine. The position that has remained without an ambassador is confirmed since then Marie Yovanovitch was summoned in May 2019. Brink is the current US ambassador to Slovakia.
The defense official said Blinken and Austin’s visit came as the first batch of about 50 Ukrainians would complete artillery training in a country outside Ukraine. A Defense Ministry official said another group of about 50 Ukrainians would start training soon.
Zelensky’s office issued a statement to the meeting on Monday stressing the importance of the US officials’ visit and said the country “relies on the support of our partners.”
Officials reiterated that US forces were not involved In a key briefing, State and Defense officials made clear that the US military would not be directly involved in the war.
At a press conference on Monday, Austin said the United States believed Ukraine could win the war against Russia with “the right equipment and the right support.”
Will Biden visit? While officials hailed the trip as a testament to the United States’ commitment to Ukraine, they also faced questions about why Biden did not make the trip himself.
The State Department official noted, “The president of the United States is fairly unique, in terms of what travel requires. So he goes far beyond what a cabinet minister would want or what any other world leader might ask.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson He visited the country earlier this month. Senior officials from the European Union and the Baltic states also visited Zelensky in Kyiv.
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