The US to Return Diplomats to Ukraine, Blinken Says in Kyiv

Photo credit: AFP

In a strong message of solidarity from the United States, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during an unannounced trip to Kyiv that US diplomats will return to Ukraine this week after leaving over security concerns.

A State Department official said that US diplomats will return to Lviv, in western Ukraine, as a first step to reopen the embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible and since there has not been a confirmed US ambassador in Ukraine since 2019, the White House will allegedly nominate the current ambassador to Slovakia, Bridget Brink, to serve as ambassador in Kyiv.

Blinken traveled to the Ukrainian capital on Sunday along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials such as Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, and Interior Minister Denys Monastrysky.

The senior State Department official said that Blinken and Austin had an extended, roughly 90-minute bilateral meeting with Zelensky in Kyiv. They’re the highest-level US officials to have traveled to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in late February.

According to reports, Washington would sell Ukraine $165 million worth of nonstandard ammunition and contribute more than $322m in new military aid.

Zelensky announced the US officials’ visit during a press conference on Saturday, but the US publicly confirmed the visit only on Monday since, due to security concerns, reporters accompanying Washington’s delegation were barred from reporting on the trip until the officials left Ukraine.

Blinken told reporters after crossing from Ukraine to an undisclosed location in Poland on Monday that they had the opportunity to directly demonstrate the US’s strong ongoing support for the Ukrainian government and for the Ukrainian people.

Blinken also underscored that Russia has failed in its attempts to subjugate Ukraine and take its independence, pointing out that Washington’s strategy in terms of massive support for Ukraine, massive pressure against Russia, and solidarity with more than 30 countries engaged in these efforts is having real results.

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