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Blinken says Ukraine is going through “challenging” time on visit to Kiev

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky during a trip to Kiev this Tuesday (14) that part of a large aid package from the United States had arrived in Ukraine and that more was on the way to “make a real difference”.

Blinken's trip is the first by a senior U.S. official since Congress approved a long-delayed $61 billion aid package last month. Kiev's troops, who are outnumbered, are fighting a new Russian offensive in the northeast as well as attacks in the east.

“We know this is a challenging time. But we also know that in the short term, assistance is already on the way, some of it has already arrived, and more of it will arrive,” Blinken said.

“And it will make a real difference against continued Russian aggression on the battlefield.”

Ukraine recaptured much of the territory during the first year after Russia's invasion in 2022, but a Ukrainian counteroffensive failed last year and in recent months Russia has regained the initiative on the front line.

Military aid from Washington, Kiev's main backer, was withheld for months, blocked by Republicans in the US Congress until they finally allowed a vote last month, when it passed with bipartisan support.

Zelensky, addressing Blinken in English, said air defense supplies were “the biggest shortfall for us,” with Russia carrying out long-range airstrikes since March that have hit electrical installations and caused blackouts.

“We really need two Patriots today for Kharkiv, for the Kharkiv region, because there people are being attacked. Civilians, warriors, everyone is being attacked by Russian missiles.”

Blinken arrived in Kiev by train early Tuesday morning for the previously undisclosed visit, which comes days after Russia launched a ground incursion into the northern Kharkiv region, opening a new front and overwhelming Ukraine's soldiers.

Kiev has been at a disadvantage on the battlefield for months, with Russian troops advancing slowly, taking advantage of Ukraine's shortages of manpower and artillery shells.

The trip was intended to “send a strong signal of reassurance 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 stated.

Source: CNN Brasil

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