The return of US diplomats to Ukraine, military aid among the issues Blinken, Austin discussed with Zelenskyy

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US diplomats return to Ukraine this week, and US will announce more military aid to Ukraine following a high-profile meeting between Foreign Minister Antony Blinken, Defense Minister Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and others in Kiev on Sunday, according to Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, who traveled with the U.S. delegation.

“It was a very productive meeting, very engaging session, and we were very excited to have this opportunity,” Austin said at a news conference early Monday. “We expressed our deepest sympathy to the President for the loss of so many civilians” and for the loss of troops. He said US officials were discussing with Zelenskyy what would “enable us to win the current battle and also build for tomorrow.”

Blinken said that the battle for Kiev has been won and that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a failure, measured by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s original goal of “completely subordinating Ukraine to Russia.”

The meeting with Blinken, Austin and Zelenskyy also included Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, Ambassador Oksana Makarova, General Valerii Zaluzhny, Head of Presidential Administration Andrii Yermak and Presidential Assistant Andrii Sybiyha.

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Secretary Austin brought along Laura Cooper, Assistant Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Lieutenant General Randy George, his senior military assistant. Tom Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff for State Politics and brother of Jake Sullivan, accompanied Blinken.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (L), President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Center), US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (H)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (L), President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Center), US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (H)
(Office of President Volodymyr Zelensky)

President Biden will announce at 7 a.m. Monday morning that he is nominating a new ambassador to Ukraine: Bridget Brink. Brink, the current US Ambassador to Slovakia, has decades of experience in the region, having served as Deputy Head of Mission in Tiblisi, Georgia and Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

A senior U.S. Department of Defense and State Department official told Fox News that diplomats addressed the following issues.

Blinken will announce that US embassy officials will return to Ukraine this week, starting with day trips to Lviv and graduating overnight, with the aim of returning to Kiev as soon as possible. Blinken discussed this plan with Zelenskyy on Sunday and sent a strong message of solidarity with the country in crisis.

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Blinken will also announce $ 713 million in foreign military funding to Ukraine and 15 other US allies, with $ 322 million to Ukraine, allowing the country to buy off-the-shelf weapons and ammunition from other countries that may have older non-standard (often Soviet-made) weapons and ammunition that Ukrainians know how to use.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
(Office of President Volodymyr Zelensky)

Following the Zelenskyy meeting, Austin will announce that the 6-day training of the first tranche of 50 Ukrainian artillerymen is coming to an end, and the next set of soldiers will begin training thereafter. The training takes place outside Ukraine in another European host nation wishing to remain anonymous. U.S. military officials are training Ukrainians in how to use 155mm howitzers to train soldiers, who in turn train other soldiers. Austin will also announce that the first 18 Howitzers are now in Ukraine, with a further 7 being prepared for transit and a further 72 to be sent in another package soon.

More than 20 defense ministers and chiefs of defense will meet with Austin and US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley in Ramstein, Germany, on Tuesday, April 26, on how to increase aid to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Reznikov, will attend the meeting, as will NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“Despite all the Russian claims that they have control of Mariupol, they are not behaving like an army in control of Mariupol,” a senior U.S. defense attorney told Fox News.

Journalists traveling with Blinken and Austin, including Fox News’ own Jennifer Griffin, had to wait in Poland at the Ukrainian border due to security concerns, but they spoke to US executives on the spot about the situation.

Lieutenant General John Kolasheski, commander of the V Corps, told Fox News that the 5th Corps is working with NATO partners to set up battle groups in all of NATO’s eastern front nations from Estonia to Bulgaria.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.  From President Zelensky's office

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. From President Zelensky’s office
(Office of President Volodymyr Zelensky)

“Not only here in Poland, I think many of the countries are concerned about Russia’s next step and are very happy to have the US military here working side by side to help them develop their capabilities and capabilities. , “said Kolasheski. “Together us and them, our mortality, and so I think they recognize that Russia at the moment is and will be a threat in the future.”

Major General Chris LaNeve, commander of the 82nd Airborne, which commands 4,700 soldiers in Poland attached to the Polish 18th Mechanized Brigade, told Fox News that each Polish military family hosts a Ukrainian family.

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“It’s actually an honor to be paired with them,” LaNeve said. “I want to tell you, I think that one day, when we can all look back and look back at what the Polish army and the Polish people have done, almost all the military members I talk to in the Polish army have in this area, a Ukrainian family living with them. ”

“They have opened their arms to people they have never met before, they live with them, share bread, they are very committed to helping,” the general added. “And for me, it’s been awe-inspiring to see and be a part of.”

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