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Blinken makes surprise visit to Ukraine and is expected to reaffirm US support for the country

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kiev on Tuesday (14), the first visit to Ukraine by a senior US official since Congress approved a $61 billion military aid package for the country. last month.

The previously undisclosed trip aims to show U.S. solidarity with Ukraine as the country struggles to defend itself from heavy Russian shelling on its northeastern border.

Blinken, who arrived in Kiev by train Tuesday morning, hopes to “send a strong signal of safety to Ukrainians who are obviously in a very difficult time,” said a U.S. official who briefed reporters traveling with Blinken on condition of anonymity.

“The secretary's mission here is really to talk about how our supplemental assistance will be executed in a way that will help bolster their defenses and allow them to increasingly regain the initiative on the battlefield,” the official said.

Artillery, long-range missiles known as ATACMS and air defense interceptors approved by President Joe Biden on April 24 were already arriving at Ukrainian forces, the official said.

Blinken will reassure Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, of enduring U.S. support and deliver a speech focused on Ukraine's future, the official said.

Kiev has been at a disadvantage on the battlefield for months as Russian troops slowly advance, particularly in the southern Donetsk region, taking advantage of Ukraine's shortage of troops and artillery shells.

Russia's forces hold a significant advantage in manpower and ammunition.

On Monday (13), US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that Washington was trying to accelerate “the pace of deliveries” of weapons to Ukraine to help it reverse its disadvantage.

“The delay has put Ukraine in a hole and we are trying to help them get out of that hole as quickly as possible,” Sullivan said, adding that a new weapons package would be announced this week.

Expansion

Russia now controls about 18% of Ukraine and has been gaining ground since the failure of the 2023 Kiev counteroffensive to make serious inroads against Russian troops entrenched behind deep minefields.

Source: CNN Brasil

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