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Reuters: Blinken visits Ukraine to show US solidarity amid Russian onslaught

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken comes to Ukraine after the US approved a $61 billion military aid package for Ukraine to bolster its defense as the Ukrainian army faces shortages in troop numbers and artillery shells amid intensified Russian attacks in eastern and northeastern Ukraine.
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State Photo: Twitter/SecBlinken
Reuters: Blinken visits Ukraine to show US solidarity amid Russian onslaught

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on 14 May, marking the first visit by a senior US official since the approval of a $61 billion military aid package for Ukraine last month, according to Reuters.

This visit comes as the Russian army started a new offensive in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast and intensified its operations in Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine, while the Ukrainian army faced shortages in ammunition and weapons due to a six-month-delay in approving the US aid. The US government eventually approved the $61 billion aid, sending artillery, long-range missiles (ATACMS), and air defense interceptors to Ukraine.

The purpose of this previously undisclosed trip is to demonstrate US solidarity with Ukraine amid severe Russian attacks on its northeastern border, Reuters reports.

“The Secretary’s mission here is really to talk about how our supplemental assistance is going to be executed in a fashion to help shore up their defenses (and) enable them to increasingly take back the initiative on the battlefield,” said a US official who spoke to Reuters under the condition of anonymity.

Blinken aims to reassure Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, of the United States’ continued support.  During his visit, Blinken is also expected to deliver a speech focusing on Ukraine’s future, Reuters reports.

Earlier this month, the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced that a forthcoming $61 billion US military aid package to Ukraine will help prevent further Russian territorial advances in 2024 and support a Ukrainian counteroffensive in 2025. However, he also noted that Russians can have some territorial gains because “you can’t instantly flip the switch.”

Russia’s forces have a significant advantage in terms of manpower and munitions, while Ukraine faces shortages in troop numbers and artillery shells.

In a recent offensive in Kharkiv, Russia deployed 50,000 troops and 400 tanks, aiming to establish a 20km buffer zone. However, they are unlikely to seize the second-largest city in Ukraine, Kharkiv, because frontline reports claim it would require around 300,000 troops due to its size and population of 1.4 million.


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