Blinken Holds Talks With Zelenskyy During Surprise Visit to Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit comes after Congress approved a long-awaited $61 billion aid package for Ukraine in April.
Blinken Holds Talks With Zelenskyy During Surprise Visit to Ukraine
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) before a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sept. 6, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
Aldgra Fredly

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Tuesday and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss “security arrangements,” according to the U.S. State Department.

His visit comes after Congress approved a long-delayed $61 billion aid package for the war-torn country in April. Mr. Blinken held meetings with Mr. Zelenskyy and several senior Ukrainian officials during his visit.

The two discussed “recent battlefield updates and the importance of newly-arrived U.S. security assistance to helping repel Russian attacks,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Mr. Blinken also spoke with the Ukrainian leader about their countries’ “long-term security arrangements and ongoing work to ensure Ukraine can thrive economically.”

The secretary of state has also reaffirmed Washington’s “enduring support” for Ukraine, according to Mr. Miller.

‘Tough Period for Ukraine’

During their meeting, Mr. Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to Mr. Blinken for his visit and his support for Ukraine amid the country’s war with Russia, which has been ongoing since February 2022.

“It’s not a simple period for Ukraine and a tough period for the east of our country, for our warriors.  Thank you that you came, especially at [sic] these days, to support Ukraine,” he said, according to a transcript.

Mr. Zelenksyy emphasized the importance of the U.S. aid package and called for its swift release. He said that air defense was the “biggest deficit” for Ukraine and requested for two air defense batteries to protect the Kharkiv region from Russian missile attack.

“We discussed the need for Patriot systems in Ukraine to protect our cities and communities, such as Kharkiv and the surrounding region,” Mr. Zelenskyy stated on social media platform X.

“Two Patriots for the Kharkiv region could significantly contribute to the protection of lives from Russian terror,” he added.

The Ukrainian leader said they also discussed “security guarantees” and preparations for the upcoming Global Peace Summit.

US Pledges Unwavering Support for Ukraine

Mr. Blinken said the United States would continue to be “a committed partner” to Ukraine, adding that he believes the aid package will make “a real difference” in helping Ukrainian forces on the battlefield.
In his speech at the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Mr Blinken acknowledged the delay of the U.S. assistance package had left Ukraine more vulnerable to Russia’s attacks but assured Ukrainians that they could continue to count on U.S. support.

“I have come to Ukraine with a message: You are not alone,” he remarked. “We will stay by your side, until Ukraine’s security, its sovereignty, its ability to choose its own path is guaranteed.”

Mr. Blinken said that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has intensified his military offensive in Kharkiv and across the east, deploying waves of “Russian soldiers, Iranian drones, North Korean artillery, and tanks, missiles, and fighter jets built with machines and parts supplied by China” against Ukrainian forces.

However, he noted that the United States and other countries are committed to helping Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“In the immediate term, the United States and dozens of other countries will get Ukraine the assistance that you need, and we’ll get it to you quickly,” the secretary of state said.

“We’re going to help you hold off Russia’s attacks, make it harder for them to strike you, and keep the Black Sea open so you can keep growing your economy and keep helping to feed the world,” he added.

The Ukraine bill will give $60.84 billion to Ukraine, which has come under attack by Russia since February 2022. The bill would include $23.2 billion to renew both defense articles and services provided to Ukraine and $13.8 billion in assistance for Kyiv to purchase U.S. weapons and both defense services and articles.
Jackson Richman and Joseph Lord contributed to this report.
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer covering U.S. and Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.