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During a surprise visit to Kyiv, Blinken reveals over $1 billion in aid for Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an aid package for Ukraine of more than $1 billion during a surprise visit to Kyiv on Sept. 6.

Mr. Blinken expressed unwavering support for Ukraine during his visit, his fourth since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

At a press conference ahead of his meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Mr. Blinken emphasized the U.S. commitment to bolstering Ukraine’s ability to confront and deter aggression both in the short and long term.

“We will continue to stand by Ukraine’s side,” Mr. Blinken said following the meeting. “Today, we’re announcing new assistance totaling more than $1 billion in this common effort.”

The new funding includes more than $665 million in new military and civilian security assistance and millions more in support for Ukraine’s air defenses and other areas.

The package increases U.S. security assistance to more than $43.2 billion since the conflict’s start. The Pentagon also announced a $175 million package for weaponry for air defense equipment, artillery rounds, and anti-tank weapons.

“We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs not only to succeed in the counteroffensive but has what it needs for the long term to make sure that it has a strong deterrent, strong defense capacity so that, in the future, aggressions like this don’t happen again,” Mr. Blinken said in a statement.

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The Biden administration has also granted authorization for $2.9 billion in humanitarian aid and $20.5 billion for Ukraine through World Bank initiatives.

During his surprise visit, Mr. Blinken said he discussed long-term security arrangements, viewed as temporary measures on Ukraine’s path to potential NATO membership, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Mr. Blinken said these long-term security arrangements aim to assist Ukraine in developing a future-ready military force capable of deterring and, if needed, defeating any potential aggression.

“The United States is committed to empowering Ukraine to write its own future,” Mr. Blinken said, noting that the countries had forged a strong partnership amid the Russia–Ukraine war.

The $1 billion funding tranche is primarily directed toward addressing Kyiv’s immediate requirements.

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba speaks to the press before arriving at a U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine, at U.N. headquarters in New York on July 17, 2023. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba speaks to the press before arriving at a U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine, at U.N. headquarters in New York on July 17, 2023. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Ukraine mounted a counteroffensive against Russian forces in June, which has recently broken through well-fortified Russian defenses and heavily mined areas. These efforts have been bolstered by the formation of assault battalions and the accumulation of Western weaponry.

The U.S. secretary of state acknowledged the progress made in Ukraine’s counteroffensive efforts and pledged to provide the necessary support for its success.

However, Ukraine has faced criticism about the progress of the counteroffensive. Ukraine has countered such criticism, noting Russia’s formidable defensive lines and extensive minefields encountered by their troops.

Mr. Kuleba emphasized to Mr. Blinken that U.S. assistance isn’t an act of charity.

“Today, thanks to our partners, Ukraine is restraining Russia’s aggression. And we are not putting any American lives at risk,” Mr. Kuleba said at a press conference.

Mr. Blinken said the new assistance announced on Sept. 6 will help Ukraine sustain its counteroffensive “and build further momentum.”

The Pentagon stated that this latest funding installment is allocated under the $6.2 billion presidential drawdown authority, which was reinstated in June after a reassessment of the total value of previously allocated items for Ukraine.

The aid provided by the United States has included items such as 2,000 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 10,000 Javelin anti-armor systems, and 2 million 155 mm artillery rounds. This assistance comes from existing U.S. stocks and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Mr. Blinken also noted that U.S.-made Abrams tanks are set to arrive in the fall and highlighted the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in the United States as part of the long-term international commitment to Ukraine’s needs

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