Blinken and Austin Emphasize U.S. Commitment on Kyiv Visit

NEAR THE POLISH-UKRAINIAN BORDER — American Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday after a secrecy-shrouded visit to Kyiv that Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy is committed to winning his country’s fight against Russia and that the United States will help him achieve that goal.

“He has the mindset that they want to win, and we have the mindset that we want to help them win,” Austin told reporters in Poland, the day after the three-hour face-to-face meeting with Zelenskyy in Ukraine.

Austin claimed that Ukraine has changed the nature of its fight with Russia, who is moving away from the northern forests to concentrate on the Donbas’ eastern industrial center. Because the nature of the fight has evolved, so have Ukraine’s military needs, and Zelenskyy is now focused on more tanks, artillery and other munitions.

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“The first step in winning is believing that you can win,” Austin said. “We believe that they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support, and we’re going to do everything we can … to ensure that gets to them.”

Blinken’s visit with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Washington was the most high-profile American trip to the capital in the two years since Russia invaded the city at the end of February.

Zelenskyy’s advisers were told by them that the U.S. will provide foreign military finance in excess of $300 million and they had also approved a $165,000,000 sale for ammunition.

“We had an opportunity to demonstrate directly our strong ongoing support for the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people,” Blinken said. “This was, in our judgment, an important moment to be there, to have face-to-face conversations in detail.”

Blinken claimed that the three hour meeting was for extensive talks with Ukrainians, which included the need for help in the next weeks.

“The strategy that we’ve put in place, massive support for Ukraine, massive pressure against Russia, solidarity with more than 30 countries engaged in these efforts is having real results,” Blinken said.

“When it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia is failing. Ukraine is succeeding. Russia sought to completely subjugate Ukraine in order to remove its sovereignty and independence. That has failed.”

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Asked about what the U.S. sees as success, Austin said that “we want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory, we want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.”

Biden also stated that he would shortly announce Bridget Brink’s nominee for ambassador to Ukraine and that American diplomats from Ukraine who fled before the war would be starting to return to their country in the coming weeks. At the moment, U.S. Embassy Kyiv is closed.

Brink is a career diplomat and foreign service officer. She has been ambassador to Slovakia since 2019. Before joining the White House National Security Council, she held previous assignments in Uzbekistan and Georgia as well as Serbia, Cyprus, Georgia, Georgia and Georgia. This post needs to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Reporters who traveled along Austin and Blinken from Poland to report on the trip were banned from doing so until the end, could not accompany them on their land journey to Ukraine and couldn’t specify the location in which southeast Poland they had met with the Cabinet members after their return. The Pentagon and State Department officials cited security concerns.

Blinken and Austin announced $713 million of foreign military funding for Ukraine, 15 allied countries and partners. Kyiv is allocated $322 million. According to officials, the remainder of the money will be distributed among NATO countries and other countries that have helped Ukraine acquire critical military supplies during its war with Russia.

This financing differs from any previous U.S. military aid for Ukraine. This isn’t a gift of dwindling U.S. Defense Department stocks, it is cash that can be used by countries to buy supplies they may need.

Officials stated that this new money along with $165million in non-U.S. ammunition compatible with Soviet-era weapons, brought total American military support to Ukraine to $3.7billion since the invasion.

Biden accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin for genocide and the damage done to Ukraine. Biden stated that on Thursday he was providing $800million in new military aid for Ukraine, which included drones and heavy artillery.

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As part of the $13.6 billion spent on Ukraine and its allies as a response to Russian aggression, Congress last month approved $6.5 Billion for military assistance.

Blinken will return from Poland to Washington, while Austin will travel to Ramstein (Germany) for the meeting of NATO defense ministers.

Officials said that the discussion would focus on battlefield updates, security assistance for Ukraine, and long-term defense requirements in Europe. It will also discuss how to increase military production in order to address the gaps created by the conflict in Ukraine. Over 20 nations will be represented at the meeting.

David Rising (Associated Press) contributed this report to Bangkok

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