U.S. Secretary of State Blinken visits Ukraine in unannounced trip after Congress approves $60 billion in military aid

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ukraine on Tuesday for an unannounced diplomatic trip to reassure the country amid its war with Russia. After arriving in Kyiv, Blinken was expected to meet with senior Ukrainian officials and emphasize the United States’ enduring support for Ukraine, according to the U.S. State Department. In the Ukrainian capital, he will also underscore the Biden administration’s commitment to Ukraine’s defense and assure Ukraine that it has America’s support against increasingly intense Russian attacks. In a statement released after Blinken’s arrival, the State Department said he would meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to “discuss battlefield updates, the impact of new U.S. security and economic assistance, long-term security and other commitments, and ongoing work to bolster Ukraine’s economic recovery.” “He will emphasize America’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democracy in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,” the statement added. Blinken’s visit comes less than a month after Congress approved a long-delayed foreign assistance package that sets aside $60 billion in aid. Most of the aid will go toward replenishing badly depleted artillery and air defense systems. Tuesday marks Blinken’s fourth trip to Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Despite his frequency to the region, Kyiv and Moscow are no closer to ending their fighting. The unannounced visit comes after a White House briefing Monday, where national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the new aid package was “trying to really accelerate the tempo” of U.S. weapon shipments to Ukraine. “What I am going to suggest is that the level of intensity being exhibited right now in terms of moving stuff is at a 10 out of 10,” Sullivan told reporters. President Biden signed the aid package late last month and the administration has already announced $1.4 billion in short-term and $6 billion in longer-term support. Blinken’s last trip to Kyiv was in September.