US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Ukraine’s capital Kiev on Sunday, where they met President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials, making them the top US officials to have traveled to the country since. the beginning of Russia’s invasion.
These are the key moments of this visit:
Blinken said US diplomats would return to Ukraine this weeksaid a senior State Department official, who characterized the move as a strong message of solidarity from the United States.
As part of the resumed US diplomatic presence in Ukraine, diplomats will “start day trips to Lviv” and “will graduate to potentially other parts of the country and eventually resume their presence in Kiev,” a senior foreign ministry official said. Affairs. †
Austin: “We want to see Russia weakened” While in Kiev, Blinken and Austin also met Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Interior Minister Denys Monastrysky for an extended bilateral meeting lasting about 90 minutes, the senior ministry official said. of Foreign Affairs. The defense secretary outlines some of the United States’ goals as the country continues to support Ukraine’s efforts in the war.
“We want Russia to be so weakened that it can no longer do what it did by invading Ukraine,” Austin said at a news conference at an unnamed location in Poland, near the Ukrainian border, after the trip to Kiev. † “So it’s already lost a lot of military capability. And quite frankly, a lot of its troops. And we don’t want them to have the ability to reproduce that capability very quickly.”
More aid to Ukraine Blinken and Austin discussed the Biden administration’s intention to provide $713 million in additional foreign military funding to Ukraine and allied European and Balkan partners, according to the senior State Department official and a senior Defense Department official.
US President Joe Biden announced Monday that he will nominate Bridget Brink as US ambassador to Ukraine. The post with no confirmed ambassador since Marie Yovanovitch was recalled in May 2019. Brink is the current US ambassador to Slovakia.
Blinken and Austin’s visit came as the first tranche of about 50 Ukrainians will undergo artillery training in a country outside Ukraine, the defense official said. Another tranche of about 50 Ukrainians will also start training soon, a defense official said.
Zelensky’s office released a readout of the meeting Monday, stressing the importance of the visit by US officials and saying the country is “counting on the support of our partners.”
Officials do not repeat involvement of US troops In a background briefing, state and defense officials made it clear that the US military still would not be directly involved in the war.
In Monday’s press conference, Austin said the US believes Ukraine can win the war against Russia with “the right equipment and the right support.”
Will Biden come to visit? While officials hailed the trip as a testament to US commitment to Ukraine, they also faced questions about why Biden didn’t make the trip himself.
“The President of the United States is somewhat idiosyncratic when it comes to what travel requires, so it goes way beyond what a cabinet secretary would ask or what virtually any other world leader would require,” noted the State Department official.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the country earlier this month. Top officials from the EU and the Baltic States also visited Zelensky in Kiev.
Read the full report here: