US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Sunday, where they met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials, making them the most senior officials Americans to have visited the country since the beginning of Russia. his invasion.
Here are the key moments to remember from this visit:
Blinken said US diplomats would return to Ukraine this weeka senior State Department official said, calling the move a strong message of solidarity from the United States.
As part of the resumption of the U.S. diplomatic presence in Ukraine, diplomats will “begin with day trips to Lviv” and “eventually travel to other parts of the country and ultimately to resume their presence in Kyiv.” said a senior State Department official. .
Austin: ‘We want to see Russia weakened’ While in Kyiv, Blinken and Austin also met with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Interior Minister Denys Monastrysky for an extended bilateral meeting of about 90 minutes, the official said. senior State Department official. The Defense Secretary outlined some of the United States’ goals as the country continues to support Ukraine’s efforts in the war.
“We want to see Russia weakened to the point where they can’t do the kinds of things they did by invading Ukraine,” Austin told a press conference at an undisclosed location in Poland near from the Ukrainian border after the trip to kyiv. . “So he’s already lost a lot of military capability. And a lot of his troops, quite frankly. And we want them not to have the ability to replicate that capability very quickly.”
More help to Ukraine Blinken and Austin discussed the Biden administration’s intention to provide $713 million in additional foreign military funding to Ukraine and its allied European and Balkan partners, according to the senior State Department official and a senior head of the Department of Defense.
US President Joe Biden announced on Monday that he would nominate Bridget Brink as US Ambassador to Ukraine. The post which has been without a confirmed ambassador since the recall of Marie Yovanovitch 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 report of the meeting on Monday, stressing the significance of the visit by US officials and saying the country “counts on the support of our partners.”
Officials reiterate lack of involvement of US forces During a briefing, state and defense officials made it clear that the US military would still not be directly involved in the war.
At Monday’s press conference, Austin said the United States believed Ukraine could win the war against Russia with “the right equipment and the right support.”
Will Biden visit? While officials hailed the trip as a testament to U.S. commitment to Ukraine, they also must have wondered why Biden didn’t make the trip himself.
“The President of the United States is somewhat singular, in terms of travel. So that goes far beyond what a Cabinet Secretary or virtually any other world leader would need,” the official noted. state department.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the country earlier this month. Senior EU and Baltic officials also visited Zelensky in Kyiv.
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