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U.S. defense secretary makes surprise visit to Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, right, speaks to employees of the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. Associated Press/Photo by W.G. Dunlop

U.S. defense secretary makes surprise visit to Ukraine

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit on Monday. In a public meeting, he told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the United States was “with you and will remain with you for the long haul.” Austin also planned to meet with Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and Chief of Staff Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

Why did Austin visit Ukraine? Conflict in the Middle East, starting with Hamas terrorists’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, has drawn some attention away from Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia. U.S. officials said that Austin planned to share with Ukrainian officials that the United States will continue to support Ukraine through money and weapons. Since Russia invaded in February 2022, the United States has provided over $44.2 billion in weapons to Ukraine, but the funding is nearly gone. Some officials have urged Congress to provide more money. However, a growing number of Republicans in the Senate have opposed additional aid unless the U.S. also addresses funding for its border control issue.

Dig deeper: Read William Fleeson’s report in WORLD Magazine about flowers and resilience blooming in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Tobin Jacobson

Tobin Jacobson is a student at Patrick Henry College and the World Journalism Institute.

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