RUSSIA + UKRAINE

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes an unannounced trip to Ukraine

Sep 8, 2022, 5:39 AM
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Jamaicas Prime Minister Andrew Holness (out of fram...
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Jamaicas Prime Minister Andrew Holness (out of frame) at the State Department in Washington, DC, on April 1, 2022. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

 (CNN) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Ukraine Thursday — paying his second visit to the country’s capital city since the war with Russia began more than six months ago.

Blinken met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv.

His trip comes as Ukraine has launched a counteroffensives aimed at reclaiming Russian occupied areas in the south and northeast of the country. It also coincides with a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, hosted by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Both Austin and Blinken visited Ukraine in late April. They remain the highest level US officials to have traveled to the country since the war began in late February. Multiple heads of state have gone to Ukraine to meet with its President Volodymyr Zelensky. US President Joe Biden has yet to travel there, though the two leaders spoke by phone in recent weeks.

According to the State Department, Blinken also briefly went into Ukraine when he met on the border with Kuleba in March.

The Biden administration has pledged ongoing support to Ukraine, and has committed more than $13 billion in security assistance since the conflict started began. Austin announced a new $675 million tranche on Thursday. Additionally, Blinken is expected announce Thursday that the United States intends to provide $2 billion to bolster the security of Ukraine and 18 other regional countries.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken makes an unannounced trip to Ukraine