US foreign and defense chiefs Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Sunday, Washington confirmed on Monday, announcing additional military aid to Ukraine and the return of American diplomats to the country.
During the trip, announced by Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday but not confirmed by the United States until Monday after their departure from Ukraine, the two ministers expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian leader.
American officials did not confirm the presence of Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin until they returned to Poland. [AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool – Keystone]
The two officials announced the gradual return of a US diplomatic presence in Ukraine and an additional $713 million in direct and indirect military assistance.
New ambassador appointed
“We want our diplomats to return to our embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible,” a senior US official said.
Antony Blinken also announced the appointment of a new US ambassador to Ukraine in the coming days. It will be Bridget Brink, current ambassador to Slovakia. The position in Ukraine had been occupied by project managers since 2019.
The United States is much more cautious than several European countries, which have already reopened their embassies in Kyiv.
Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin’s visit to Kyiv was the first for American officials since the conflict began on February 24. It came after those of several European leaders in recent weeks.
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