US defense chief Austin visits Kyiv as questions swirl over aid to Ukraine
Last edited Mon Nov 20, 2023, 01:00 PM - Edit history (1)
November 20, 2023 11:33 AM EST
KYIV, Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Kyiv on Monday for an unannounced visit and expressed American support "for the long haul" as questions swirled over the sustainability of vital Western assistance, with Russia's invasion dragging on.
Austin, accompanied by the head of the U.S. military's European Command, was photographed smiling and shaking hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. It marked Austin's first visit to Kyiv since April 2022.
"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 Zelenskiy after an overnight train ride into Ukraine from Poland. U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said the visit signalled Washington's "unwavering support to Ukraine in its fight for freedom".
Zelenskiy told Austin that his visit was "a very important signal" for Ukraine. "We count on your support," Zelenskiy told Austin. The trip comes amid increasing division over aid for Ukraine in the U.S. Congress, with a U.S. presidential election coming in November next year. Some American lawmakers are prioritising aid to Israel even as U.S. defense officials stress that Washington can support both allies simultaneously.
Read more: https://www.reuters.com/world/us-secretary-defense-austin-us-will-stand-with-ukraine-2023-11-20/
Original article/headline -
November 20, 2023 3:49 AM EST
KYIV, Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in wartime Kyiv on Monday in a gesture of "unwavering" support as questions swirled over the sustainability of vital Western assistance as the war with Russia drags on.
Austin, accompanied by the commander of the U.S. European Command, was shown next to a train shaking hands with the U.S. ambassador to Kyiv in a photograph published by the embassy.
"I'm here today to deliver an important message the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine in their fight for freedom against Russias aggression, both now and into the future," Austin wrote on social media platform X. U.S. ambassador to Kyiv Bridget Brink said the visit signalled Washington's "unwavering support to Ukraine in its fight for freedom".
The trip comes amid increasing division over aid for Ukraine in the U.S. legislature with a U.S. presidential election in November next year. A joint Ukraine-U.S. military industry conference in Washington is due to take place next month.