Blinken, Ukraine FM Kuleba discuss return of US diplomats, aid package

US Secretary of State on Saturday discussed the return of American diplomats to Ukraine as well as an aid of USD 33 billion to the war-torn country with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to follow up on their April 24 meeting in Kyiv,” US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a state department readout.

“The Secretary emphasized the United States’ robust support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s brutal aggression,” the readout said.

“The Secretary provided an update on plans for U.S. diplomats to return to Ukraine, including initial visits to Lviv this week and plans to return to Kyiv as soon as possible. The Secretary and Foreign Minister discussed the Administration’s April 28 request to Congress for USD 33 billion in security, economic, and humanitarian aid to empower Ukraine to defeat the Kremlin’s unconscionable war,” the statement added.

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden asked the US Congress for USD 33 billion in emergency supplemental funding to support Ukraine, including USD 20 billion for military assistance. The request comes on top of about USD 4 billion in military aid the Biden administration has already committed to Ukraine, USD 3.4 billion of which came after Russia launched its military operation in late February, Sputnik reported.

Secretary of State Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv last week and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. During their visit, Blinken and Austin said that US diplomats were going to return to Ukraine in the coming week.

US diplomats, who relocated to Poland in advance of Russia’s operation, conducted a day trip to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where many of Ukraine’s decision-makers had relocated from Kyiv, media reports said.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24, after recognizing the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as “independent republics”. Russia claims that the aim of its special operation is to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.

In response to Russia’s operation, Western countries have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow and have been supplying weapons to Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine which has entered its third month now has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with more than 5 million Ukrainian fleeing to neighbouring Western countries, according to the UNHCR data.

The war has also resulted in almost 3000 civilian casualties as of April 28. The casualty figures include as many as 70 children, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNOHCR).

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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