US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kyiv on Wednesday for his third trip to the Ukrainian capital since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, where he doubled down on US support for Kyiv’s counteroffensive, announcing more than a billion dollars of additional US aid and underscoring for an audience back home why the US needs to commit billions of dollars more to help defeat Vladmir Putin.
Blinken said the US is “determined to continue to walk side-by-side” with Ukraine when he met with President Volodymyr Zelensky, as he called the country’s progress in the counteroffensive “very, very encouraging.”
Zelensky said it is always a “great message of support” for Ukraine when US officials visit, noting that this is a “tough period” for his country.
The top US diplomat announced more than a billion dollars in additional funding for Kyiv’s war effort as the Biden administration braces for a political struggle to secure more money from Congress.
“In the ongoing counteroffensive, progress has accelerated in the past few weeks. This new assistance will help sustain it and build further momentum,” Blinken said at a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
The new package includes up to $175 million to replenish Ukrainian forces with weaponry that the US has given to the country in the past including: air defense system components, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems for HIMARS, munitions, ammunition, and communications systems, according to a State Department fact sheet. These weapons will come from Pentagon stocks.
The military assistance includes depleted-uranium munitions for the first time.
The aid also contains $100 million for long-term military support, $90 million to assist demining efforts, $300 million to support law enforcement efforts, $200 million for transparency and anti-corruption efforts and $200 million for humanitarian assistance.
Blinken also said that the US will be transferring seized Russian assets to Ukraine for the first time. He did not say how much those assets amounted to, or precisely when the transfer would happen.
“Those who have enabled Putin’s war of aggression should pay for it,” Blinken said.
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