US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on an unannounced visit Wednesday, where he was due to announce more than a billion dollars in fresh aid to Ukraine. The visit — the fourth by a top US official during Moscow’s assault — comes as Kyiv has touted some successes this week in its offensive to push back Russian forces.
“We expect the secretary to be able to announce more than a billion dollars in new US funding for Ukraine during this visit,” a senior State Department official said en route to Kyiv. The official added that Blinken will meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Amid grumbling among Republicans in Congress about US support for Ukraine, the aid announcement is meant to signal Washington’s continuing commitment to help Ukraine overcome Russia’s war of aggression, which has killed thousands of civilians and disrupted global food and energy markets. The administration says the money will go toward long-term investments “to bolster Ukraine’s security and that of its 18 neighbors,” including some NATO allies at risk of future Russian aggression.
The US has already provided more than $40 billion in weapons and other support to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022. And it has asked Congress to approve another $40 billion for Ukraine and other international needs this year. But that request could face opposition in the GOP-controlled Congress, where some far-right members want to cut back on the tens of billions in military aid already sent to Ukraine.
In Irpin, outside Kyiv, Blinken shook hands with local leaders near bombed-out apartment buildings where residents were forced to flee. He met with Khrystyna Podyryaka, director of Ukraine’s national police unit for investigating war crimes. She told him the agency has already registered 30,000 cases, including 20,000 involving civilians.
Blinken placed a wreath at a military cemetery in honor of Ukrainian soldiers who died fighting to defend their country. He called on Ukraine to keep up the fight and to work with allies like the United States to hold Russia accountable. He promised the US would continue to expand assistance to bolster anti-corruption bodies, civil society, and free media — institutions that are “crucial to ensuring that the unprecedented resources all of us are providing are managed responsibly.”
Blinken also urged Ukraine to strengthen its defenses by increasing its army, navy, and air force’s size and capability and by investing in modernizing railways, ports, and border crossings. He said the United States is willing to transfer some of its surplus equipment, which has accumulated in storage, to Ukraine. He added that that will allow Ukraine to build up its forces as they battle Russian aggression. Ukraine’s armed forces are now operating on three frontlines, with the main battleground focused on the southeast and the north of the country, according to the ministry.