US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken takes an unannounced trip to Ukraine



CNN

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken took an unannounced trip to Ukraine Thursday – His second visit to the country’s capital since the start of the war with Russia more than six months ago.

Blinkin met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv.

His trip comes at a time when Ukraine has launched a counter-offensive aimed at retaking the Russian-occupied areas in the south and north-east of the country. It also coincides with the meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, hosted by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Austin and Blinken both visited Ukraine in late April. They still represent the highest level of US officials who have traveled to the country since the war began in late February. Many heads of state went to Ukraine to meet with its President Volodymyr Zelensky. US President Joe Biden has not traveled there yet, although the two leaders have spoken by phone in recent weeks.

According to the State Department, Blinken also briefly went to Ukraine when he met at the border with Kuliba in March.

The Biden administration has pledged continued support to Ukraine, and has allocated more than $13 billion in security assistance since the conflict began. Austin announced a new $675 million tranche on Thursday. In addition, Blinken is expected to announce on Thursday that the United States intends to provide $2 billion to enhance the security of Ukraine and 18 other regional countries.

This story is down and will be updated.

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