Pentagon director makes surprise trip to Kiev

(MENAFN) In a surprise move, United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Kiev on an unannounced visit, emphasizing Washington's commitment to providing military assistance to Ukraine. The Pentagon issued a statement on Monday, stating that Austin held meetings with Ukrainian leadership to deliver reassurances about continued support. However, despite the visit, no specific details regarding new aid packages for Ukraine were announced.

In a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Austin shared a photo of his arrival at a railway station in Kiev, stating, "I'm here today to deliver an important message – the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine." Later, he revealed that talks were held with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, reaffirming "the United States' steadfast support for Ukraine." Austin also pledged that the US and its allies would address both the Ukrainian forces' "urgent battlefield needs and long-term defense requirements."

Despite the assurances, neither Austin nor the Pentagon disclosed specific commitments regarding new military assistance for Kiev. The focus of discussions, according to the United States Department of Defense, was on ensuring that Ukrainian troops have the necessary "battlefield capabilities" for the upcoming winter and beyond.

The visit comes against the backdrop of concerns raised by the Pentagon two weeks ago, indicating that only approximately USD1 billion remains for military assistance for Ukraine.

Sabrina Singh, the deputy spokeswoman for the Department of Defense, noted that around 95 percent of the allocated funding for Kiev had already been spent. The Pentagon urged Congress to pass a new spending bill for Ukrainian aid to avoid potential rationing of future deliveries. As of now, no such legislation has been adopted.

Austin's surprise visit underscores the delicate balance between the reassurances of continued support for Ukraine and the pressing need for additional funding to meet the country's military requirements. The outcome of ongoing discussions may influence the trajectory of United States-Ukraine relations amid evolving geopolitical dynamics in the region.


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