US defence chief visits Kyiv, announces $100m military aid package

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin shake hands [Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP Photo]
Published November 21, 2023

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has made a surprise visit to Kyiv where he unveiled a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $100m.

Austin, on his first trip to Kyiv since April 2022, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well as Defence Minister Rustem Umerov and Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi on Monday and promised the long-term support of the United States.

“The message that I bring you today, Mr President, is that the United States of America is with you. We will remain with you for the long haul,” Austin told Zelenskyy.

Austin said Ukraine’s effort to defeat Russian forces “matters to the rest of the world” and that US support would continue “for the long haul”.

The new aid package includes anti-tank weapons, air-defence interceptors and an additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).



RELATED: US Secretary of Defense Makes Surprise Visit to Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin talk during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Nov. 20, 2023. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Published November 21, 2023

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced $100 million in new military aid for Ukraine during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday, part of an effort to reassure Ukrainian leaders that the United States will continue to support the country’s fight against Russia’s invasion.

After an overnight train ride from Poland, Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, who thanked the U.S. defense secretary.

“Your coming is a very important signal for Ukraine,” said Zelenskyy. “We are very thankful to the American people. They are with us [through] all these difficulties, tough months and all these years.”



RELATED: Pentagon chief in Kyiv amid questions over future US arms supplies

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made a surprise trip to the Ukrainian capital.

Published November 20, 2023

On a surprise trip to the Ukrainian capital, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tried to rally support for Ukraine and even suggested Ukrainian forces would be “even more aggressive” in their fight against invading Russian forces throughout this winter.

Austin’s buoyant prediction about the next phase of fighting comes after Ukrainian forces failed to achieve any decisive breakthrough during a six-month counteroffensive which came at a heavy cost for Ukrainian troops.

There is also serious concern in Ukraine about the longer-term future of U.S. military aid, with some Republicans wanting to halt support.

Speaking to reporters in Kyiv, Austin appealed to Congress to approve additional funding, calling it “a smart investment” in U.S. security.

“This is about … not living in a world where a dictator can wake up one day and decide to annex the property of his peaceful neighbor,” Austin told reporters in Kyiv.







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