September 25, 2022
Blinken makes unannounced visit to Ukraine, pledges .6 billion in security aid to the region

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a news conference on the day of the informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers on May 15, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.

Michelle Tantucci | Reuters

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken arrived in Ukraine on Thursday for an undisclosed visit, his third visit to the country since Russia launched its offensive in late February.

He landed in the country after an overnight flight and met with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Dimitro Kuleba, just hours after Ukraine’s military chief publicly warned of threats to use nuclear weapons in conflict. Of.

“Another factor is the direct threat of Russia’s use of strategic nuclear weapons in certain circumstances,” General Valery Zaluzny said in an article Co-authored by lawmaker Mykhailo Zabrodsky and published by state news agency Ukrainform.

A senior State Department official confirmed that Blinken may announce the withdrawal of $675 million of US weapons and equipment to Ukraine. The 20th fall since September 2021, which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned in remarks to allies in Germany on Thursday, will include additional weapons, munitions and equipment from US military inventories.

The official said Blinken also plans to announce that the State Department will inform Congress that it will provide $2 billion in long-term investments to bolster the security of Ukraine and 18 other neighboring countries, including several NATO allies. Are included.

“In total, the secretary will today announce $2.6 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine and its neighbors. These announcements will bring the total US military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of this administration to approximately $15.2 billion,” the official said. “

Blinken’s visit came on the heels of a call with Kuleba last month in which he called for strengthening US support for Ukraine’s defense needs. President Joe Biden later announced a $3 billion package to train and equip the Ukrainian armed forces.

Meanwhile, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has mocked the West’s response to the war, saying on Wednesday that his nation had “lost nothing” amid a host of sanctions that targeted elites and services that helped finance the ongoing invasion. used to help

Ukraine also faces nuclear concerns Zaporizhzhia nuclear power Plant, Europe’s largest.

On Wednesday, Ukraine called on residents of Russian-occupied territories Power To evacuate the plant for your own safety. Moscow and Kyiv They have accused each other of shelling a nuclear plant, risking a nuclear disaster.

Blinken’s visit comes about four months after he moved to Ukraine with Austin. At the time, Blinken said he was not able to travel much or talk to many people in Kyiv due to security concerns.

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