The following is attributable to spokesperson Ned Price:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine yesterday to demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their fight against Russian aggression.
While in Kyiv, Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, Head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Yermak, Chief of the Defense General Valeriy Zaluzhny and Ambassador Oksana Markarova. They discussed the United States’ unwavering support for the Ukrainian government and people, including through our significant assistance to Ukraine’s security, governance, economic, and humanitarian needs. Secretary Blinken also renewed his support for Ukraine’s efforts to end Russian aggression through diplomacy and dialogue, noting that our continued support will strengthen Ukraine’s hand on the battlefield and at the table. negotiations.
During their meeting, Secretary Blinken said President Biden would nominate Bridget Brink, currently the US Ambassador to Slovakia, to be the next US Ambassador to Ukraine. If confirmed, Ambassador Brink will lead our diplomatic mission in Ukraine with dedication and distinction. Previously, she served as Senior Counselor and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of European and Eurasian Affairs and Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Tbilisi, Georgia. Her decades of experience make her particularly suited to this moment in Ukraine’s history.
Underscoring our intensive diplomatic engagement, Secretary Blinken also indicated that US diplomats would return to Ukraine this week. The increased US presence demonstrates our support for Ukraine and is part of the US commitment to return our diplomats to our Embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible. This action will reinforce the Department’s ongoing commitment to facilitating humanitarian relief efforts and the delivery of aid to the Ukrainian government, while providing increased support to American citizens.
Secretary Blinken informed President Zelenskyy that the United States intends to commit more than $713 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for Ukraine and 15 other allies and partners in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkan region. This includes $650 million in funding provided through the Ukrainian Supplementary Appropriations Act of 2022. More than $322 million of this bond is earmarked for Ukraine and will provide capacity support that Ukraine needs as Russian forces concentrate on Donbass; this assistance will also help the Ukrainian Armed Forces transition to more advanced weaponry and air defense systems. This assistance will also help NATO Allies supplement the capabilities they have donated to Ukraine from their own stockpiles. Additionally, Secretary Blinken told President Zelenskyy that on April 24, the Department notified Congress of a foreign military sale of up to $165 million for non-standard munitions destined for Ukraine. Since the start of the new Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the United States has committed approximately $3.7 billion in security assistance and has provided more than $4.3 billion since the beginning of the Biden administration.
As part of our continued assistance, Secretary Austin has also advised the Ukrainian government that the U.S. Department of Defense will expand military training for Ukrainian service members in the region on certain supplied weapon systems. He pointed to US efforts to expedite the delivery of these weapons, which are now coming days after the announcement. And he stressed that with our allies and partners, the United States will continue to coordinate the shipment of additional heavy weapons, ammunition and spare parts from other countries. Secretary Austin also briefed Ukrainian leaders on the agenda for this week’s Defense Consultative Meeting in Germany. Convened by the United States, the consultative meeting will review the operational situation on the ground and review Ukraine’s near-term defense needs, while offering participants the opportunity to consider ways to better meet security interests. long-term national of Ukraine.
Both Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin shared their admiration for the daily heroism shown by the people of Ukraine – whether it be the soldier on the front lines, those caring for the wounded, sick or vulnerable or rebellious grandmothers resisting Russian aggression. They noted that the bravery of Ukrainians in the defense of freedom and democracy inspires us all and underlined our confidence that an even stronger Ukraine will emerge from this conflict.