The Biden administration has reportedly approved an additional $200 million in defensive security assistance to Ukraine amid its tensions with Russia, which the U.S. says could attack its former territory on “very short notice.”
The aid was approved last month but was formally confirmed on Wednesday as Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a visit to Kyiv and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
A senior official told The Associated Press under the condition of anonymity in December that the assistance was part of American efforts to support Ukraine in the event of an attack from Russia, but did not provide any other details regarding the funds.
During his Wednesday visit, Blinken told Zelensky that Ukraine has the support of the U.S. and its allies should Russia invade the country, Reuters reported.
“We know that there are plans in place to increase that force even more on very short notice and that gives President Putin the capacity, also on very short notice, to take further aggressive action against Ukraine,” Blinken said, according to AP.
“The Ukrainian people chose a democratic and European path in 1991. They took to the Maidan to defend that choice in 2013, and unfortunately ever since you have faced relentless aggression from Moscow,” Blinken said, according to the AP. “Our strength depends on preserving our unity and that includes unity within Ukraine. I think one of Moscow’s long-standing goals has been to try to sow divisions between and within our countries and quite simply, we cannot and will not let them do that.”
Zelensky reportedly told Blinken that he was thankful for the support and assistance provided by the U.S. amid the tensions.
“This [military] support not only speaks to our strategic plans of Ukraine joining the alliance but more importantly to the level of our military, our military supplies,” he said, referring to Kyiv’s desire to join NATO, AP noted. “If we want dramatically fast steps in modernizing the military, we need help especially in these tough times.”
“Your visit is very important. It underlines once again your powerful support of our independence and sovereignty,” he added.
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