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In addition to Zelensky, Blinken will meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the purpose of the trip is to “demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democracy, especially in the face of Russia’s aggression.”
The visit comes as Zelensky replaced Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and President Joe Biden urged Congress to approve more American funding for Ukraine. Reznikov was removed amid allegations of corruption within the Ukrainian military, which has received billions of dollars in aid from the U.S. One recently released report from the Department of Defense showed that criminal gangs were likely taking military equipment and weapons from the front lines, some of which may have been sent by the U.S.
“Returned to Kyiv today to meet with our Ukrainian partners to discuss their ongoing counteroffensive, future assistance and reconstruction efforts, and above all, to reinforce the unwavering U.S. commitment to Ukraine,” Blinken posted to X.
Blinken will discuss Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia and Ukraine’s energy, security, and humanitarian needs, according to the State Department. He will reportedly announce an additional $1 billion in American support to Ukraine. According to the Washington Post, Blinken has repeatedly worked to shoot down support for negotiated cease-fire agreements between Russia and Ukraine.
“We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs, not only to succeed in the counteroffensive, but has what it needs for the long term, to make sure that it has a strong deterrent,” Blinken said on Wednesday.
Biden’s request for another $24 billion in military and economic aid may face an uphill battle in the House of Representatives as some Republicans have voiced concerns over the amount of money already allocated to Ukraine and the spending’s impact on inflation and the national debt.
The House Freedom Caucus has already announced that it will “oppose any blank check for Ukraine in any supplemental appropriations bill” as a battle over government funding looms before Congress.
In the Senate, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has said that she would oppose a move to separate federal funding for disaster relief at home from funding for Ukraine.