US Comes Bearing Aid to Ukraine

Hundreds of millions in new military assistance, and the return of US diplomats
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 25, 2022 1:24 AM CDT
Updated Apr 25, 2022 6:22 AM CDT
Blinken, Austin: US Diplomats Returning to Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shake hands during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine.   (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Top American officials promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hundreds of millions of dollars in new aid during the highest-level US visit to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion two months earlier, while Britain said Monday that Moscow has yet to achieve a significant breakthrough in its offensive in the eastern industrial heartland of the country. In meetings with Zelensky in Kyiv, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States had approved a $165 million sale of ammunition for Ukraine’s war effort, along with more than $300 million in foreign military financing. The pledges came Sunday, the 60th day since the start of the invasion, as Ukraine pressed the West for more powerful weapons against Russia's campaign in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where Moscow's forces sought to dislodge the last Ukrainian troops in the battered port of Mariupol.

Zelenskyy's meeting with US officials, his first face-to-face talks with a top American official since a Feb. 19 meeting in Munich with Vice President Kamala Harris, took place as Ukrainians and Russians observed Orthodox Easter, the AP reports. Speaking from Kyiv's ancient St. Sophia Cathedral, Zelensky, who is Jewish, highlighted its significance to a nation wracked by nearly two months of war. “The great holiday today gives us great hope and unwavering faith that light will overcome darkness, good will overcome evil, life will overcome death, and therefore Ukraine will surely win!” he said. The visit by Blinken and Austin was unannounced, per CNN, and along with the promises of new aid came an announcement that US diplomats will return to Ukraine this week.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said Monday that Ukrainian troops holed up in a steel plant in the strategic city of Mariupol were tying down Russian forces, and keeping them from being added to the offensive elsewhere in the Donbas. “Many Russian units remain fixed in the city and cannot be redeployed,” the ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Ukraine's defense of Mariupol has also exhausted many Russian units and reduced their combat effectiveness.” The ministry added that, so far, Russia has only made “minor advances in some areas since shifting its focus to fully occupying the Donbas." “Without sufficient logistical and combat support enablers in place, Russia has yet to achieve a significant breakthrough,” the ministry said.

(More Volodymyr Zelensky stories.)

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