Tue. May 28th, 2024
ani 20240514165546

On his surprise visit to Ukraine, US State Secretary Antony Blinken on Tuesday met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and assured him that American military aid is on its way, reported The New York Times.

This comes at a “challenging time” when the country’s putting effort against Russia.
This marks Blinken’s first meeting since his arrival in Kyiv and came under the shadow of Russian military gains in the country’s northeast.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, in an ornate conference room at his presidential offices on Bankova Street, said that US State Secretary Blinken had come during “a tough period for the east of our country.”
Later, the Ukrainian leader profusely thanked Blinken for the “crucial” USD 60.8 billion aid package for his country that President Biden signed last month after months of infighting among congressional Republicans, The New York Times reported.
Further adding that Ukraine was still in need, Zelenskyy pointed to the Russian military advances around the northeastern city of Kharkiv in recent days.
Russian forces captured another village, Lukiantsi, overnight and bombed the city of Kharkiv on Tuesday morning, injuring four people.
Zelenskyy further called air defence a “deficit for us” and said, “We really need it today, two Patriots for Kharkiv.” The Patriot is a US-made surface-to-air missile system, reported The New York Times.
However, Blinken did not specifically respond to that request, but said, “We know this is a challenging time. But we also know that in the near term, assistance is now on the way. Some of it already arrived, and more of it will be arriving, and that’s going to make a real difference against the Russian aggression on the battlefield.”
The US State Secretary made this unannounced visit for the fourth time since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Blinken, who arrived on an overnight train from Poland, plans to deliver a speech later on Tuesday celebrating the influx of American aid and portraying Russia’s failed effort to take control of the country as a strategic success for Ukraine, according to a senior US official.
Moreover, Blinken will further underscore that Ukraine must continue to make progress on democratic governance and anticorruption reforms if it wants to integrate with the West, the official said.
US President Joe Biden and State Secretary Blinken had warned for months that Congress’ delay in approving critically needed US arms would leave Ukraine’s military vulnerable along an eastern battlefront that has been stalemated for months, reported The New York Times.
However, the US official declined to draw a direct connection between the delayed aid and Russia’s gains near the city of Kharkiv.
But the official said it was clear that the gap in funding had left Ukraine, whose military is starved for ammunition and other critical equipment, weakened.
In the past several years, Blinken and Zelensky have developed a personal rapport over numerous meetings in Europe and the US.
The secretary of state, who visited Kyiv twice in the year before Russia’s full-scale invasion, is known there as one of Washington’s leading champions of strong Western support for Ukraine.
“I know you did a lot for this positive decision,” Zelensky told Blinken of the new aid package.
“We’ve travelled a long road together these past couple of years,” Blinken said
Earlier in March, the White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with Zelensky in Kyiv, before the package passed.-ANI

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