US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has made an unannounced visit to Ukraine

While in Kyiv, Blinken met with top officials, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and visited a children’s hospital.

“President Biden is clear that we will support the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes. I reiterated this message to President Zelensky and his team today in Kyiv, the capital of a sovereign, independent country, Ukraine,” Blinken said in a statement.

His visit comes as Ukraine launches counter-offensives aimed at recapturing Russian-occupied areas in the south and northeast of the country. This coincided with a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Liaison Group hosted by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Both Austin and Blinken visited Ukraine in late April. They are the highest-ranking US officials to visit the country since the war began in late February. Several heads of state have traveled to Ukraine to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Although the two leaders have spoken by phone in recent weeks, US President Joe Biden has yet to visit.

According to the State Department, Blinken briefly visited Ukraine when they met at the border in Kuleba in March.

The Biden administration has pledged continued support to Ukraine, and has committed more than $13 billion in security aid since the conflict began. Austin announced the new $675 million installment on Thursday. In addition, the United States intends to provide more than $2 billion to strengthen the security of Ukraine and 18 other regional countries, Blinken announced Thursday.

During his visit Thursday, Blinken, along with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, visited Ohmatdyt National Children’s Specialized Hospital in Kyiv and met with children being treated there — including some wounded in the war. He also met Patron, the internationally famous mining sniffer dog.

Blinken presented the Jack Russell terrier with dog treats, “since he’s already won so many medals and awards, I thought he’d like something he could actually use.” She posed for photos in the lobby with her dog in a vest, who accompanied her on a tour of the hospital.

See also  August Full Moon: When to See the Sturgeon Super Moon

“We have a long history in eye blast removal,” Blinken said. “We’re honored to work with you on that.”

The top US diplomat met several children in hospital, including 6-year-old Marina, who lost part of her leg, and 13-year-old Katerina, who was injured in Gerson and has been in hospital since May. He was injured and his mother killed in the Kramatorsk train station attack in early April.

“We really appreciate the courage and spirit of your children. It sends a very strong message to the world,” Blinken told the room. “It’s an honor to meet you, to meet them, to see the amazing work that the doctors, the minister, the Ronald McDonald House, everyone is doing. We’re glad we were able to help. A friend and a partner.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.