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Anthony Blinken Pays Ukraine Solidarity Visit Amid Russian Aggression

Anthony Blinken visits Ukraine in show of US solidarity amid Russian attacks.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unprecedented visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, marking the first time a senior U.S. official has traveled to Ukraine since Congress approved a significant $61 billion military aid package for the country last month.

The unannounced trip highlights America’s steadfast support for Ukraine as it grapples with intense Russian aggression along its northeastern border.

Arriving in Kyiv by train early Tuesday morning, Blinken’s mission is to convey a robust message of solidarity to the Ukrainian people amid their challenging circumstances, according to a U.S. official who briefed reporters accompanying Blinken on condition of anonymity.

“The Secretary’s mission here is really to talk about how our supplemental assistance is going to be executed in a fashion to help shore up their defenses (and) enable them to increasingly take back the initiative on the battlefield,” the official said.

President Joe Biden authorised the delivery of artillery, long-range missiles known as ATACMS, and air defense interceptors on April 24, with these supplies already making their way to Ukrainian forces.

During his time in Kyiv, Blinken plans to reassure Ukrainian leaders, including President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, of the enduring support from the United States. Additionally, he will deliver a speech emphasising the importance of Ukraine’s future and the role of U.S. assistance in strengthening its resilience against external threats.

Ukraine has faced significant challenges on the battlefield in recent months, with Russian forces making incremental advances, particularly in the Donetsk region to the south. The disparity in manpower and munitions between Ukrainian and Russian forces has posed a considerable obstacle for Kyiv, prompting efforts from Washington to expedite the delivery of weapons to Ukraine.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Washington was trying to accelerate “the tempo of the deliveries” of weapons to Ukraine, acknowledging that delays in aid had left the country at a disadvantage. Sullivan pledged that the United States is committed to assisting Ukraine in rapidly overcoming these challenges, with plans to announce a new package of weapons later this week.

He said, “The delay put Ukraine in a hole and we’re trying to help them dig out of that hole as rapidly as possible”.

Melissa Enoch

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