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Blinken visits Kyiv to reaffirm U.S. support for Ukraine

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File: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday on an unannounced visit to reaffirm America’s support for Ukraine, which is struggling in the face of ammunition shortages and increasingly intense Russian attacks.

Blinken flew to Poland and took an overnight train to Kyiv, where he arrived on early Tuesday morning. The trip was kept secret from the public and was only announced when the diplomat had already arrived in the Ukrainian capital.

Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said Secretary Blinken would use the two-day trip to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

The officials will discuss battlefield updates and the impact of new U.S. security and economic assistance, among other topics. “[Blinken] will emphasize America’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democracy in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,” Miller said.

Blinken also plans to deliver a speech at 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET), outlining how the U.S. and other allies will help Ukraine build a “free, prosperous, and secure democracy” which is “fully integrated into Europe and the Transatlantic Alliance,” the State Department said.

The situation in eastern Ukraine has become increasingly dire with ongoing ammunition shortages and increasingly intense Russian attacks, which enabled Russian forces to capture a number of towns in recent weeks. Heavy fighting continues along multiple fronts.

Last month, U.S. lawmakers approved a bipartisan deal to provide Ukraine with $60.8 billion in aid, including military support, after months of deadlock. Most of this aid will take months to deliver though some shipments – including artillery and long-range ballistic missiles – have already arrived on the battlefield.

Speaking at the White House on Monday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden’s administration is trying to “accelerate the tempo” of U.S. weapon shipments to Ukraine, adding that the intensity in terms of “moving stuff” is now “10 out of 10.”

Blinken’s schedule in Ukraine

(all times local)

  • 10 a.m.: Blinken meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
  • 1:15 p.m.: Blinken has a working lunch with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba
  • 1:55 p.m.: Blinken meets with civil society organization representatives
  • 2:30 p.m.: Blinken meets with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal
  • 3:35 p.m.: Blinken meets employees of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv
  • 4:30 p.m.: Blinken meets with students and employees of Mariupol State University
  • 6:00 p.m.: Blinken delivers remarks at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute

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