Blinken promises Ukraine help is “on the way” amid ” brutal Russian onslaught”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in Kyiv on Wednesday $2 billion in new financing for Ukraine to be used to facilitate the delivery of weapons and to fuel future investments in Ukraine’s defense industrial base. 

The financing will come from the $60 billion in supplemental security funding that was recently passed by Congress, as well as $400 million in previously approved foreign military financing funds that have not yet been allocated, the State Department said.

Blinken, noting it was his fifth trip to Ukraine and fourth to Kyiv, vowed in a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba that the U.S. would support Ukraine until it achieved “strategic success,” both by helping Ukraine’s forces deliver on the battlefield and in positioning Ukrainians to be able to determine their own future. 

His visit came amid deteriorating battlefield conditions in the country’s north and east, where Russian forces have made recent advances and intensified attacks on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced he would cancel all upcoming foreign trips as the country’s military forces withdrew from several neighboring villages.

“We are rushing ammunition, armored vehicles, missiles, air defenses, rushing them to get to the front lines, to protect soldiers, protect civilians,” Blinken said, noting the air defenses for which Ukraine has implored its supporters were a “top priority.”

Blinken said the U.S. was one of 32 countries actively negotiating a bilateral security agreement with Kyiv and expects its terms to be finalized in the coming weeks.

Pressed on whether the Biden administration’s conditions specifying American weapons could only be used for defensive, not offensive, purposes had hamstrung Kyiv ahead of Russia’s onslaught on Kharkiv, Blinken said the U.S. had “not encouraged or enabled” strikes outside of Ukraine but that ultimately Ukraine “has to make decisions for itself about how it’s going to conduct this war.”

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