U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Wednesday morning and is expected to announce hundreds of millions of dollars of new spending in addition to the billions of extra dollars expected from Washington this week.
The visit by Blinken comes just hours after the city experienced a Russian missile attack and is another physical expression of support for Ukraine from its Western backers which has seen dozens of world leaders travel by special train to the country from neighbouring Poland. As well as a wreath-laying and meeting senior ministers, Blinken is due to see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today to discuss the long-anticipated and now beleaguered counteroffensive that the U.S., with allies, is funding.
Blinken is due to announce a new package of military aid to Ukraine during his visit today, the Associated Press says, which will be worth up to $200 million. France24 cites a State Department source that says the extra support that will be given today could be as much as one billion dollars. This is apparently in addition to extra billions the Biden Presidency has requested and may approve in the coming days or weeks.
I welcomed @SecBlinken in Ukraine.
The Secretary became the first counterpart to begin his day in Kyiv by paying tribute to our fallen heroes at Berkovetske cemetery.
This is a sign of respect to all Ukrainian warriors who gave their life for our freedom and the right to live. pic.twitter.com/yMSWFRTqh5
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) September 6, 2023
The Secretary of State was met in Kyiv upon his arrival by the U.S. Ambassador and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who has recently triggered headlines around the world for intemperate remarks about those criticising the pace of progress of the counter-offensive, counselling them to “shut up”.
Talking about the monetary and material support given to Ukraine by the U.S., Blinken said: “We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs, not only to succeed in the counteroffensive but has what it needs for the long-term, to make sure that it has a strong deterrent… We´re also determined to continue to work with our partners as they build and rebuild a strong economy, strong democracy.”
Russia used the occasion of Blinken’s arrival to claim the United States is pushing the war and prolonging the conflict by underwriting Kyiv with military support. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. was going to support Ukraine “to the last Ukrainian”, and asserted no matter how hard America tried, Russia would still triumph in what it euphemistically calls its “special military operation”.
This story is developing and more follows