US Defense Chief Austin visits Kiev and announces further military aid

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By Max Hunder and Tom Balmforth

KIEV (RockedBuzz through Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin introduced $100 million in new military aid to Ukraine throughout an unannounced go to to Kiev on Monday, pledging long-term American assist amid rising issues in regards to the sustainability of the help important a part of the United States.

Austin introduced the aid bundle after a day of conferences with Ukrainian officers, with the newest tranche together with weapons resembling anti-tank weapons, air protection interceptors and a further High Mobility Artillery Missile System (HIMARS).

Austin, accompanied by America’s prime normal in Europe, was photographed smiling and shaking fingers with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. It marked Austin’s first go to to Kiev since April 2022.

“The message I convey to you at present, Mr. President, is that the United States of America is with you. We will probably be with you for the lengthy haul,” Austin instructed Zelenskiy after an in a single day practice journey from Poland to Ukraine.

Zelenskiy mentioned in Austin that his go to was “an important sign” for Ukraine.

“We count on your support,” Zelenskiy mentioned in Austin.

The United States has offered greater than $44 billion in safety help to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in February 2022.

“I think they’re prepared for the fight in the winter,” Austin instructed reporters after his fights.

“They did a terrific job final 12 months. This 12 months we anticipate them, simply primarily based on what … President Zelenskiy mentioned, to be much more aggressive,” Austin added.

The journey comes amid rising division over aid to Ukraine within the US Congress, with a US presidential election due in November 2024. Some US lawmakers are prioritizing aid to Israel at the same time as US protection officers level out that Washington can assist each allies on the identical time.

In an announcement on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appealed for lawmakers to approve further aid.

“It is critical that Congress act to support Ukraine by approving the president’s request for additional funding,” Blinken mentioned.

“Helping Ukraine defend itself… helps prevent wider conflict in the region and deters future aggression, which makes us all safer.”

Privately, some senior Ukrainian officers have expressed concern that military aid deliveries might change into much less frequent, reflecting broader unease in regards to the ranges of assist wanted to maintain the struggle in opposition to Russia. Ukraine’s funds for subsequent 12 months has a deficit of greater than $40 billion that must be crammed.

BUFFER EXPENSE INVOICE

President Joe Biden final month requested Congress to approve extra funding for Ukraine. Its omission from a stopgap spending invoice handed by lawmakers final week raised issues that funding for Ukraine might by no means be appropriated, particularly after the Republican-led House of Representatives handed a aid invoice. regulation that gives help to Israel however to not Ukraine.

A Republican bloc opposes sending extra aid to Ukraine. Aid opponents have mentioned U.S. taxpayer cash needs to be spent domestically, however majorities of Republicans and Democrats in Congress nonetheless assist aid to Zelenskiy’s authorities.

A joint Ukrainian-American military trade convention in Washington, scheduled for December 6-7, is aimed toward boosting Ukraine’s home weapons manufacturing because the struggle drags towards the two-year mark.

Russia now controls almost a fifth of Ukraine. The West has despatched military gear and Ukraine launched a counteroffensive this 12 months to retake occupied lands, however has made little progress.

(Reporting by Max Hunder and Tom Balmforth in Kiev and Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham, Bernadette Baum, Alex Richardson and Cynthia Osterman)

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