US ministers in Kyiv: US promises massive arms deliveries to Ukraine

Visit to Kyiv
“As much and as quickly as possible”: US ministers again promise massive arms deliveries to Ukraine

Antony Blinken (l), US Secretary of State, and Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense, talk to journalists in Poland, near the Ukrainian border, after a meeting in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

© Alex Brandon/AP/DPA

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin have been the first high-ranking US officials to visit Kyiv since the war began. In addition to statements of solidarity and promises of weapons, there were also words of warning to Moscow.

The message should be clear: the US stands by Ukraine. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pledged US solidarity to Ukraine during their visit to Kyiv and announced further military aid. In addition, US diplomats should return to Ukraine next week and try to reopen the embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible, as Blinken announced. He and Austin had met there, among others, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj. It was the first visit by senior US officials to Kyiv since Russia’s war of aggression began on February 24.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin: “Want to see Russia weakened”

In view of the massive arms shipments by the US military, Austin said the US would do everything it could to give Ukraine “as much as possible, as quickly as possible”. He received important information from Zelenskyj about what the country needs. He will discuss these on Tuesday at a meeting with the defense ministers of NATO partners and allies at the US military base in Ramstein, he said on Monday morning after returning from Kyiv at a press conference in southeastern Poland.

The US government’s goal is to defend Ukraine’s democracy and sovereignty and put Moscow in its place, Austin said. “We want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can no longer do the kind of things it did by invading Ukraine.” Russia has already “lost a lot of military capabilities and many of its troops”. The point is to ensure that Russia cannot quickly rebuild its previous operational capability, Austin said.

US announces an additional $322 million in military aid to Ukraine

During their visit to Kyiv, the two ministers announced additional military aid to Ukraine and around a dozen other countries in the region, totaling US$713 million (around €662 million). Of this, $322 million is destined for Ukraine. In addition, Ukraine will receive additional ammunition worth 165 million dollars, it said. The US government has pledged a total of $3.7 billion in military aid since the beginning of the war. The US military is currently bringing several planeloads of weapons and ammunition into the region for Ukraine every day.

According to Foreign Minister Blinken, Russia has failed in its goals in the war against Ukraine. “We see that when it comes to Russia’s war goals, Russia is failing and Ukraine is succeeding,” said Blinken. Russia has made it its goal to completely subjugate Ukraine and take away the country’s sovereignty and independence, Blinken said. “That failed”. Russia’s military has fallen dramatically short of expectations, and its economy is devastated as a result of the sanctions. “We don’t know how the rest of this war will play out, but we do know that a sovereign and independent Ukraine will exist much longer than Vladimir Putin has on this stage.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Meeting with Zelenskyy lasted three hours

Zelenskyj announced the ministers’ forthcoming visit on Saturday, but the US side remained silent for security reasons. Blinken said afterwards that they had traveled by train from Poland and went straight to the presidential palace in Kyiv. The conversation between the US ministers and Selenskyj and his team lasted around three hours.

After the visit, Zelenskyy thanked for the arms aid and at the same time called for the sanctions against Russia to be tightened. “We have discussed with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arms assistance, tightening sanctions policy against Russia, financial assistance to Ukraine and security guarantees,” Zelenskyy said on his official Telegram channel on Monday.

Meanwhile, in Washington, US President Biden nominated a candidate for the post of US ambassador to Ukraine. The White House said on Monday that it would shortly forward the nomination of career diplomat Bridget Brink to the Senate. The Chamber of Congress must approve the personnel. Brink is currently the US envoy to Slovakia. Previously, she worked at the State Department in Washington as an expert on Eastern Europe and the Caucasus and as deputy ambassador to Uzbekistan and Georgia, it said.


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