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US State Secy Blinken makes surprise Ukraine visit, to meet Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Kyiv: US State Secretary Antony Blinken on Tuesday embarked on an unannounced visit to Ukraine to foster ties and reaffirm American support to Kyiv amid its ongoing war with Russia.
Secretary Blinken shared details of his arrival in Kyiv on X saying, "I returned to Kyiv today to demonstrate our unwavering support for Ukraine as they defend their freedom against Russian aggression."
Additionally, US State Department official spokesperson Matthew Miller also shared that Secretary Blinken will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other senior leaders to discuss battlefield updates.
"While in Kyiv, the Secretary will meet with President Zelenskyy and Ukrainian senior leaders to discuss battlefield updates, the impact of new US security and economic assistance, and ongoing work to bolster Ukraine's economic recovery," he posted on X.
The visit comes as the United States announced a USD 400 million military aid package for Ukraine as the country continues to be in desperate need of Western aid amid intensifying pressure from Russia, The Hill reported.
This package is the third slated for Kyiv after the US passed the national security supplemental last month that included USD 61 billion for Kyiv.
The new package includes Patriot air defence munitions and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which have been crucial to defending Ukraine's skies and keeping its cities safe, The Hill reported on Friday.
Other equipment includes more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and 155 mm and 105 mm artillery rounds, which Ukraine was in desperate need of to fend off Russian attacks across the front line as Moscow has an advantage in artillery fire, the report said.
The US is also providing Javelin missiles, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers, patrol boats and general small arms ammunition, grenades and demolition munitions.
Notably, the announcement comes after the passage of an initial USD 1 billion package in late April, shortly after President Biden signed the national security supplemental bill into law. This had come after months of Congress holding up talks on new aid for Ukraine.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin also announced a USD 6 billion package for Ukraine that will require Kyiv to purchase equipment from the defence industrial base before delivery, The Hill reported.
As Russia intensifies pressure across the eastern frontline, making critical advances in the Donetsk region, US aid will play a crucial role in the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
This announcement comes on the heels of a fresh attack launched by Russia in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, putting even more pressure on Ukrainian forces.

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