Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Makes Unexpected Visit To Kyiv To Show Continued Support of Ukraine
This is his second visit to the European nation.
United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced stop in Kyiv to push the the country’s support of Ukraine.
Austin came from Poland on Nov. 20 to reaffirm that money and weapons will remain in Ukraine even though the United States and other countries are tied up with new global risks due to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
He announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he would be meeting with Ukrainian leaders, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Zaluzhny. “I’m here today to deliver an important message–the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine in their fight for freedom against Russia’s aggression, both now and into the future,” he wrote.
This is the second time Austin has visited Ukraine’s capital city. The first was in April 2022, just a few months after Russia’s major invasion. During that time, Austin initiated international efforts that are currently hosting meetings for 50 countries to coordinate which weapons, training, and other means of support can be pushed into Kyiv. As of November 2023, the United States has given Ukraine over $44 billion in weapons, ranging from bullets to air defense systems, European and U.S. battle tanks and pledges for F-16 fighter jets.
However, in early November 2023, according to ABC News, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said artillery shell deliveries to his homeland have “really slowed down.” European countries such as Poland have scaled back tremendously on their support, stating their need to maintain an adequate ability to defend themselves.
Elected officials have been pushing for the United States to provide more funding for Ukraine, but Republicans disagree. Some feel additional support isn’t needed without guaranteed support for other issues, such as stricter immigration laws and funding for border control. A new bill was passed to avoid a government shutdown during the holidays, but money for Ukraine wasn’t included.