US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Ukraine Thursday, his third since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February as the United States unveiled nearly $2.7bn in new military support to Ukraine and other European countries threatened by Moscow.
Under a program in which the US offers loans or grants to other nations to buy US-produced weapons, Blinken approved $2bn in foreign military financing to bolster the security of Ukraine and other regional countries in addition to another $675m in military assistance the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin announced, which includes arms, ammunition, and supplies for precision-guided Himars rockets.
During his very productive and in many ways meaningful day visit, as he noted himself, Blinken had two hours meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, he visited US Embassy in Kyiv and toured a children’s hospital.
During his meeting with Zelensky, Blinken said the US was pleased to have been able to support Kyiv’s efforts and credited the success of the ongoing Ukrainian troops’ counteroffensive to their incredible bravery and resilience.
According to Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky’s chief of staff, the success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive proves that it can retake occupied territory and effectively use modern Western weaponry.
The Ukrainian military reports inform of significant losses the Russian forces in the Kharkiv region have suffered, after which some Russian soldiers resorted to desertion and replaced their uniforms with civilian clothing, hoping to blend in while trying to return to Russian territory.
Meanwhile, Russia’s defense ministry has allegedly sent troops to the Kharkiv region, where Kyiv’s troops have recently claimed significant successes and posted a video of the process.