US Diplomats Return to Ukraine: Top US Officials Visit Kyiv

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Asked about what the U.S. sees as success, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin highlighted sovereignty for Ukraine and said “we want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine”

American Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Antony Blinken said Monday, after a secrecy-shrouded trip to Kyiv. They confirmed that Volodomyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s President, is determined to win the fight against Russia and that the United States will support him in this endeavor.

“He has the mindset that they want to win, and we have the mindset that we want to help them win,” Austin told reporters in Poland, the day after the three-hour face-to-face meeting with Zelenskyy in Ukraine.

Austin claimed that the nature of Ukraine’s fight has changed as Russia has shifted from the forests of northern Russia to the Donbas, which is the eastern industrial center of the country. Because the fight’s nature has changed, Ukraine’s military needs have also changed. Now Zelenskyy is focusing on more tanks, artillery, and other munitions.

“The first step in winning is believing that you can win,” Austin said. “We believe that they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support, and we’re going to do everything we can … to ensure that gets to them.”

Asked about what the U.S. sees as success, Austin said that “we want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory. We want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.”

Blinken’s visit with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Washington was the most high-profile American visit to Washington since Russia invaded the capital in February.

They informed Zelenskyy’s advisers that the U.S. would provide foreign military financing in excess of $300 million and approved a $165,000,000 ammunition sale.

“We had an opportunity to demonstrate directly our strong ongoing support for the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people,” Blinken said. “This was, in our judgment, an important moment to be there, to have face-to-face conversations in detail.”

Blinken claimed that the three hour meeting with Ukrainians included wide-ranging discussions about what the country needs over the next few weeks.

“The strategy that we’ve put in place, massive support for Ukraine, massive pressure against Russia, solidarity with more than 30 countries engaged in these efforts is having real results,” Blinken said.

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