Return of US diplomats to Ukraine and military aid among issues Blinken and Austin discuss with Zelenskyy

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American diplomats will return to Ukraine this week and the United States will announce additional military aid to Ukraine after a high-level meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and others in kyiv on Sunday, according to Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, who traveled with the US delegation.

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

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Secretary Austin brought Laura Cooper, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, and Lt. Gen. Randy George, his senior military aide. Tom Sullivan, deputy chief of staff for state policy and brother of Jake Sullivan, accompanied Blinken.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pauses during his speech during a press briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Biden will announce at 7 a.m. EST on Monday that he is appointing a new ambassador to Ukraine: Bridget Brink. Brink, the current US ambassador to Slovakia, has decades of experience in the region, having previously served as deputy chief of mission in Tibilisi, Georgia, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

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

Blinken will announce that U.S. Embassy officials will return to Ukraine this week, beginning with day trips to Lviv and moving to overnight trips, with the goal of returning to Kyiv as soon as possible. Blinken discussed that plan with Zelenskyy on Sunday, sending a strong message of solidarity with the beleaguered country.

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Blinken will also announce $713 million in foreign military funding for Ukraine and 15 other U.S. allies, including $322 million for Ukraine, enabling the country to purchase ready-to-use weapons and ammunition. to other countries that may have older (often Soviet) non-standard weapons. manufactured) weapons and ammunition that Ukrainians know how to use.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a photo opportunity with Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu at the Department of State, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool).

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a photo opportunity with Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu at the Department of State, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool).
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

After Zelenskyy’s meeting, Austin will announce that the 6-day training of the first tranche of 50 Ukrainian gunners is ending and the next group of soldiers will begin training after that. The training takes place outside of Ukraine in another European host country which wishes to remain anonymous. US military officials are training Ukrainians in the use of 155mm howitzers, training soldiers who will in turn train other soldiers. Austin will also announce that the first 18 howitzers are now in Ukraine, with 7 more being prepared for transit and another 72 soon to be sent in another package.

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

“Despite all the Russian claims that they control Mariupol, they are not acting like an army that controls Mariupol,” a senior US defense official told Fox News.

Reporters traveling with Blinken and Austin, including Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, had to wait in Poland at the Ukrainian border for security reasons, but spoke to US commanders on the ground about the situation.

Lt. Gen. John Kolasheski, commander of V Corps, told Fox News that the 5th Corps was working with NATO partners to establish battle groups in all nations on NATO’s eastern front, the Estonia to Bulgaria.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a press conference on Saturday April 23, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a press conference on Saturday April 23, 2022.
(FoxNews)

“Not just here in Poland, I think many countries are concerned about Russia’s next steps and are very happy that the US military is working side by side to help them develop their capabilities and capabilities,” Kolasheski said. . “Collectively, us and them, our lethality, and so I think they recognize that Russia is currently and will be a threat in the future.

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

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

“They opened their arms to people they had never met before, they live with them, share bread, they are very determined to help,” added the general. “And for me, it’s been awesome to see and be a part of it.”

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