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The United States announced new military aid to Ukraine following a secretive meeting in Kyiv between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and top US diplomats on Sunday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told Zelensky that the US would provide over $300 million in military financing and approved a $165 million sale of non-US made ammunition that will be compatible with Ukraine’s Soviet era weapons.
They also announced President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Bridget Brink as Ukrainian ambassador and American diplomats will return to Ukraine this week after evacuating the country before the war erupted.
The US will provide a total of $713 million for foreign military financing for Ukraine and 15 allied and partner countries, of which $322 million will go to Ukraine, officials said.
The rest of the cash will be split between NATO members and other nations that have provided military supplies to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion two months ago.
Unlike previous military aid for Ukraine, the cash allows countries to purchase supplies that they might need as opposed to earlier donations of Defense Department stockpiles.
The latest aid to Ukraine brings the total amount of American military assistance to the besieged country to $3.7 billion since the war began, officials said.
On Thursday, Biden said pledged a new package of $800 million in military aid to Ukraine that included heavy artillery and drones.
Congress approved $6.5 billion for military assistance last month as part of $13.6 billion in spending for Ukraine and allies in response to the war.
Zelensky, who’s repeatedly pleaded for additional support from the United States and its allies, had expected the American officials to offer additional support for Ukraine.
“We will talk about the list of weapons that we need and the pace of its supply,” he told reporters gathered in a Kyiv subway station before the meeting. “In recent weeks, the pace, the number has all improved. I’m grateful for that.”
New artillery, including howitzers are being rapidly delivered to Ukraine’s military, which is being trained on its use in neighboring countries.
Sunday’s meeting was shrouded in secrecy. US officials declined to confirm that Zelensky and the top cabinet members were meeting after Zelensky announced the summit on Saturday. Planning had reportedly been underway for a week.
Journalists who traveled with Austin and Blinken to Poland were not permitted to accompany officials across the border into Ukraine or disclose their location, and were barred from reporting on the trip until its conclusion.
Blinken plans to return to Washington from Poland while Austin will head to Ramstein, Germany, for a meeting Tuesday of NATO defense ministers and other donor countries.
With Post Wires