Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $1 billion in aid for Ukraine while visiting Kyiv on Monday, with the majority of the funding focused on military and security assistance.
The top U.S. diplomat, visiting the country in a surprise visit, said he also held discussions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about long-term security arrangements that the U.S. and other countries have held up as stop-gap measures on the lengthy road of Ukraine’s possible accession to NATO.
Blinken stated that these long-term arrangements were about helping Ukraine to “build a future force, a future military force, capable of deterring and defeating future aggression.”
We are in the beginning stages of speaking directly with Ukraine on what the various elements would be. “Other countries have similarly engaged or are beginning to engage in those conversations… that will play out over the coming months.”
Blinken made his remarks standing alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba, who offered gratitude for the assistance.
“Today we learned one more time that the United States continued to be the leading partner and ally in the repelling of Russia, humanitarian, energy, military, everything that comes from the United States, we’re grateful for that,” Kuleba said.
“Military and financial assistance provided to Ukraine is not charity. This is something I want to emphasize again. Today, Ukraine with the support of partners, we hold Russia from imposing their will on other countries.” Today, Ukraine with the support of partners, we hold the advance of Russia from imposing their will on other countries.”
Blinken said an important part of his visit was to “listen very carefully to our Ukrainian partners” what they need immediately, and to help Ukraine build “a military force for the future that is capable of deterring future aggression, and if necessary defending and defeating it.”
Still, the secretary said that the $1 billion tranche of funding and his conversations were focused on Ukraine’s immediate needs, describing its two-month counteroffensive against Russia as having accelerated over the past few weeks, breaking through dug-in Russian defenses and heavily mined territory. “This new assistance will sustain it and help build further momentum,” said he. Air defense support was a major part of the $1billion tranche announced the day after Russia launched a missile strike on Ukraine’s east, killing 16 people including a young child and injuring dozens of others. Blinken stated that “Russia’s weapons have killed hundreds and put millions of people at risk in the years to come.” Blinken added that Ukraine is now the world’s most heavily mined country, with 30 percent of its territory potentially covered in mines.
“Ukraine now is the world’s most heavily mined country, 30 percent of its territory is potentially covered with mines,” the secretary added.
Blinken added that U.S. Abrams tanks are expected to arrive in the fall, and pointed to the U.S. beginning training of Ukrainian pilots on F16’s in the U.S. as complementing training efforts in Europe as further laying the groundwork for long-term international commitment to Ukraine’s needs.
Another part of the package is $175 million from Department of Defense stockpiles, taken from a $6.2 billion surplus discovered in June. Weapons and munitions from this package include ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS); javelins; anti-armor systems; and 120mm depleted uranium tank ammunition for Abrams tanks, among other weapons and armaments.
The U.S. is providing $300 million to support law enforcement efforts to restore and maintain law and order in liberated areas. A further $100 million in “foreign financing” will be provided to support Ukraine’s military needs for the long term. The U.S., in order to provide economic and humanitarian aid, will transfer assets to Ukraine that were seized from Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the United Nations. These assets will be used to help Ukraine’s veterans. All rights reserved.
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