Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
POLAND – The United States promised to gradually restore its diplomatic presence in Ukraine in a new signal of Western support as the war reached its 2-month mark on Sunday.
News of the diplomatic engagement emerged after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Kyiv, as Zelenskyy urged the world to send more weapons and of support to help his beleaguered country fight against the Russian invaders.
It is the first time senior US officials have visited Ukraine since Russian forces began their invasion on February 24.
After the US Embassy in Ukraine moved its staff from Kyiv to Poland before the war began, US diplomats will now begin a phased return to the country – starting with day trips to Lviv in the western Ukraine, followed by other cities, with a longer term plan to eventually return to the Ukrainian capital.
The United States, which has taken a more cautious approach upon its return, is following steps taken by the United Kingdom and other European countries to reopen their embassies in Kyiv.
Blinken also informed Ukrainians that President Biden will appoint Bridget Brink as Ambassador to Ukraine. She is a career diplomat who is currently ambassador to Slovakia. There hasn’t been an official ambassador to Ukraine since 2019, when former President Donald Trump fired Marie Yovanovitch.
Speaking in Poland on Sunday, US officials also provided an update on military aid being sent to Ukraine.
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said the United States was taking inspiration from Ukraine’s leadership as it assessed the country’s artillery needs. To aid in combat in the eastern region known as Donbass, the United States is sending howitzers – long-range weapons better suited to the region’s flat terrain.
The United States says it is also training Ukrainians on how to use weapons and giving another $300 million in foreign military funding so Ukraine has more flexibility and can buy what it needs from abroad. ‘other countries.
The new aid comes on top of the $800 million recently approved by President Biden to help the Ukrainian effort in Donbass. The Pentagon claims to have committed at least $3.7 billion to Ukraine since the start of the war.