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).
Zelenskyy told Austin that his visit was “a very important signal” for Ukraine.
“We count on your support,” the Ukrainian president said.
Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the US has provided more than $44bn – and allies an additional $35bn – in security support that ranges from millions of bullets to air defence systems, advanced European and US battle tanks and, finally, pledges for F-16 fighter jets.
Fighting has been bogged down in the east of the country around ruined towns such as Bakhmut and Adviidka, although Ukraine has recently reported some success in the southern Kherson region, where it has established a foothold on the east bank of the Dnipro River, and in the Black Sea.