: Zelensky Says Blinken and Austin to Visit Ukraine Sunday #WorldNEWS Bloomberg — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that U. S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary
Zelensky Says Blinken and Austin to Visit Ukraine Sunday #WorldNEWS
Bloomberg — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that U. S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would visit Kyiv on Sunday, in what would be a risky show of support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion.
“Tomorrow people from the U. S. are coming, I will meet the defense minister and the secretary of state, Mr. Blinken,” Zelensky said in a news conference on Saturday. “I think we will be waiting when security will allow the president of the U. S. to come and support Ukraine’s people. ”
It wasn’t clear if Zelensky’s disclosure was cleared with the Biden administration or if it would affect any travel plans. The White House National Security Council declined to comment and the State Department did not immediately comment.
The U. S. government typically does not announce trips to active combat zones by senior officials until they are already on the ground or departing the area.
The visit, if confirmed, would be the first by top U. S. officials to Ukraine’s capital since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24. In March, Blinken briefly met with Ukraine’s foreign minister at the Ukraine-Polish border.
Ukraine Latest: Zelensky Says Blinken, Austin Will Visit Kyiv
U. K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, European Commission President Ursula Von Der Layen and other foreign leaders have previously visited Kyiv to show support for the Ukrainian government.
Those trips raised pressure on the U. S. to schedule a visit by President Joe Biden or other senior officials. The White House has said there were no plans for Biden to visit the war-torn country.
The war in Ukraine has entered a new phase as Russia shifts its forces to the east and south after failing to take Kyiv or topple Zelensky’s government in the early weeks of the conflict.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin showing no signs of backing down as the conflict enters its third month, the U. S. and European allies have continued to ratchet up sanctions on Moscow and accelerate the delivery of weapons to Ukraine.
At the same time, peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have ground to a halt and the humanitarian situation has grown more dire. The United Nations refugee agency this week said more than 5 million people have fled Ukraine.
In the port city of Mariupol, which Putin has said is effectively under Russian control after weeks of devastating fighting, Ukrainian officials say about 100,000 civilians remain.
Russian forces resumed airstrikes in their latest attempt to dislodge Ukrainian fighters holed up at Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, Ukrainian presidential spokesman Oleksiy Arestovych said on Saturday.
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