Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived to the capital of Ukraine Wednesday in an unannounced visit just hours after the city was struck by a Russian missile attack.
Blinken’s trip to Kyiv is meant to show the United States’ “unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, territorial integrity and democracy,” according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.
While in Ukraine, the secretary will meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to talk about the country’s counteroffensive in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
“We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs, not only to succeed in the counteroffensive but has what it needs for the long-term, to make sure that it has a strong deterrent,” Blinken said during the visit. “We’re also determined to continue to work with our partners as they build and rebuild a strong economy, strong democracy.”
This is Blinken’s fourth trip to Ukraine since Russia invaded in March 2022, but will be the first time a U.S. official stays overnight in Kyiv since the war started. U.S. officials told the Associated Press that Blinken’s overnight trip is meant to symbolize support for Ukraine.
A senior official in the State Department — who was speaking to reporters on the protocol of anonymity — said Blinken is also looking to learn about what kind of support is needed in the current state of the war. He is also expected to announce new military aid for Ukraine that is between $175 million and $200 million, the AP noted.
This comes as Ukrainian lawmakers approved Zelensky’s nomination for a defense minister, Rustem Umerov. The visit also comes after Russia launched cruise missiles at Kyiv — which the head of the capital city’s regional military administration Serhii Popko said is the first aerial attack on the city since last week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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