US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spent about three hours with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his senior team in the capital, Kiev.
“That was the whole focus of our visit. We wanted to focus on the work that needs to be done to look at the game plan we have, how we are moving forward across all these different lines of action,” Blinken told reporters from a non illuminated place in Poland near the Ukrainian border.
Asked by a journalist what they had seen on the way to the capital, Blinken said they had taken a train from southwestern Poland to Kiev.
“So we did not see much other than looking out the train window. In Kiev itself, we went straight to the Presidential Palace.”
The top US diplomat said, “there was not much of an opportunity to talk to average Ukrainians.”
“We definitely saw people on the streets of Kiev – proof that the battle for Kiev was won,” he said.
On the surface, there were signs of “normal life” in parts of the city, he said.
“But it is in stark contrast to what is going on in other parts of Ukraine, in the south and east, where Russian brutality is doing terrible things to people every single day,” Blinken said.
Some context: While in Kiev, Blinken and Defense Minister Lloyd Austin met with Zelensky, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Interior Minister Denys Monastrysky for an extended bilateral meeting, a senior Foreign Ministry official said.