KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on an unannounced go to Wednesday, hours after Russia launched its first missile assault in per week towards the Ukrainian capital.
Blinken’s journey aimed to evaluate Ukraine’s 3-month-old counteroffensive and sign continued U.S. assist for Kyiv’s efforts to drive out the Kremlin’s forces after 19 months of struggle amid considerations amongst some Western allies over the tempo of progress, in line with U.S. officers.
After arriving in Kyiv, Blinken laid a wreath on the Berkovetske cemetery to commemorate members of the Ukrainian armed forces who misplaced their lives defending the nation.
He’s anticipated to fulfill with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba to debate the continued counteroffensive and reconstruction efforts.
These Washington officers mentioned potential different export routes for Ukrainian grain may also be mentioned following Russia’s exit from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and its frequent bombardment of port amenities within the Odesa area from the place most grain is transported overseas.
These options might embrace ships hugging coastlines to maintain out of worldwide waters the place they might be focused by Russia’s navy. Different potential overland routes are additionally being examined.
Blinken’s go to is anticipated to incorporate the announcement of recent army assist of between $175 million to $200 million. One other bigger army help bundle is anticipated later this week.
Different points, together with assist for Ukraine’s war-torn economic system shall be mentioned, constructing on Blinken’s June announcement in London of $1.3 billion in assist to assist Kyiv rebuild, with a concentrate on modernizing its vitality community that was bombarded by Russia final winter.
In a single day, Russia fired cruise missiles at Kyiv within the first aerial assault on the capital since Aug. 30, in line with Serhii Popko, the pinnacle of Kyiv’s regional army administration.
Particles from a downed missile struck the premises of a enterprise in Kyiv, igniting a fireplace and inflicting injury to the corporate’s tools. No casualties have been reported.
Within the Odesa area, in the meantime, one individual was killed in a Russian missile and drone assault that hit Izmail port. The assault broken grain elevators, administrative buildings, and agricultural enterprises, native authorities mentioned.
The journey to Ukraine is Blinken’s fourth for the reason that struggle started, together with one very transient tour over the Polish-Ukrainian border in March 2022, only a month after the Russian invasion.
Nevertheless, it’ll mark the primary time America’s prime diplomat has spent the evening in Ukraine’s capital since he visited Kyiv in January 2022, earlier than the invasion.
U.S. officers mentioned Blinken’s determination to remain in a single day in Kyiv is meant to ship a symbolic sign of American assist for Ukraine because the 18-month-old struggle drags on.
Shared priorities shall be mentioned with the state of Ukraine’s counter-offensive excessive on the agenda, a senior U.S. State Division official briefed reporters forward of the journey, talking on situation of anonymity in keeping with protocols.
he official highlighted the significance of being “well-aligned” on how Ukrainians see developments on the bottom many weeks into the combat, which Kyiv’s troops launched in June.
Blinken’s go to comes after a few of Ukraine’s allies have privately expressed concern that Ukrainian troops might come up quick and fail to achieve their targets.
Whereas the U.S. has been involved by sure day-to-day battlefield setbacks, U.S. officers mentioned, they’re nonetheless usually inspired by Ukraine’s dealing with of the army scenario, notably its air protection capabilities in pulling down Russian drones aimed toward Kyiv.
Blinken goals to get a view on how the counter-offensive operation is progressing and what sort of assist is required within the present part of the battle, together with supplies to interrupt via dense Russian protection strains whereas the winter season looms. Air protection may also proceed to be a precedence, the official mentioned.
Comply with AP’s protection of the struggle in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine