Blinken and Austin discuss arms supply in Kyiv with Zelensky | world | Dr..
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US Secretary of State and Defense, Anthony Blinken and Lloyd Austin respectively, met on Sunday (04.24.2022) in Kyiv, the Ukrainian presidency reported.
“The Americans are in Kyiv today. They are now talking with the president,” said Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser, Oleksiy Aristovich, in an interview broadcast on YouTube.
This is the first meeting of the Ukrainian president with representatives of the US administration in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
The talks on Sunday mainly dealt with the issue of supplying US weapons to Ukraine.
“The friendship and cooperation between Ukraine and the United States is stronger than ever,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter, without going into details.
Meanwhile, Aristovich reiterated on YouTube the desire of the Ukrainian government to acquire “offensive weapons”. “As long as we can’t respond, there will be a ‘new bucha’ every day,” he said, referring to the northwestern city of Kyiv that has become a symbol of the atrocities committed during the Russian occupation of the area in Yishmi.
“The representatives of the United States will not come here if they are not prepared to donate,” he said.
On Saturday, Volodymyr Zelensky declared his “gratitude” to the US administration for the assistance provided to Ukraine, but reiterated his desire to acquire “heavier and stronger weapons” to counter the Russian army.
Diplomatic presence in Ukraine
Oleksiy Aristovich also noted Sunday night that “the lines of defense were on the verge of collapse” in Mariupol, a port city in southern Ukraine largely controlled by Russian forces and where the last Ukrainian fighters have penetrated. Together with civilians – at a large steel plant, Azovstal.
For his part, Blinken announced the return of the US diplomatic presence in Ukraine. He said US President Joe Biden plans to appoint the country’s current ambassador to Slovakia, Bridget Brink, as the new chief diplomat in Kyiv in the coming days, a position that has been vacant since 2019.
Although many European countries have already reopened their embassies in Kyiv, the return of US diplomats will be gradual, according to a State Department official.
“Since the start of hostilities, we have a team across the border in Poland that has done this (diplomatic) work for us,” the official told reporters waiting for Blinken and Austin on the Polish side of the border.
US officials also announced additional assistance of more than $700 million to Ukraine. The US authorities confirmed that the two senior officials were in Kyiv on Sunday and returned to Polish territory on Monday morning.
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