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Blinken arrives in Kyiv to reassure Ukraine of US support

CNN —
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday, marking the first visit of a Biden administration official to Ukraine following the long-delayed passage of US supplemental funding to the war-torn country, the State Department announced.
The top US diplomat is due to deliver a speech later Tuesday to highlight the US’ continued support for Ukraine across the board, including militarily, economically, in the energy space, and on democratic institution building, according to a senior US official.
Blinken will also highlight the strategic successes Ukraine has achieved during its ongoing war against Russia’s invasion, the official said.
Coming amid Ukrainian setbacks on the battlefield, Blinken intends to send a “strong signal of reassurance to the Ukrainians,” the official said.
“The secretary’s mission here is really to talk about how our supplemental assistance is going to be executed in a fashion that helps shore up their defenses, enable them to increasingly take back the initiative on the battlefield looking forward,” the official said.
Blinken will also discuss “the other steps that we’re taking to provide long-term assurance and commitment on the security front to the Ukrainians, including our bilateral security agreement,” the official added.
During his fourth visit to Ukraine since the 2022 Russian invasion, Blinken is also scheduled to meet with civil society and private sector partners as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
They will “discuss battlefield updates, the impact of new US security and economic assistance, long-term security and other commitments, and ongoing work to bolster Ukraine’s economic recovery,” according to a State Department statement.
Just days before Blinken’s arrival, Ukraine’s top general said the situation in the northeastern Kharkiv region has “significantly worsened” after Russia claimed to have captured four more villages as it expanded its surprise cross-border offensive.
US officials acknowledge that the slowdown in US support, due to congressional infighting, has exacerbated a challenging situation for Ukraine.
“There is no doubt there has been a cost,” Blinken said over the weekend on CBS. “We’re doing everything we can to rush this assistance out there,” he said. “But it’s a challenging moment.”
Some of the supplemental support is already on the front lines, the official said. Specifically the US has started to flow in ATACMS missile systems “particularly with an eye towards Russia’s activities right now in Kharkiv,” the official added.
“It’s a tough fight. There is no question. But we have a lot of confidence that the Ukrainians will increasingly be effective in pushing the Russians back as our assistance flows in both from the United States and other allies and partners,” the official said.
This is a developing story and will be updated.

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