By MATTHEW LEE and KARL RITTER
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Thursday as the Biden administration announced major new military aid worth more than $2.8 billion for Ukraine and other European countries threatened by Russia.
In meetings with senior Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Blinken said the Biden administration had notified Congress of its intent to provide $2.2 billion in long-term military financing to Ukraine and 18 of its neighbors, including NATO members and regional security partners, that are “potentially at risk of future Russian aggression.”
“President (Joe) Biden has been clear we will support the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Blinken said in a statement. “I reiterated this message to President Zelenskyy and his team today in Kyiv, which remains ̶ and will remain ̶ the capital of a sovereign, independent Ukraine.”
The White House said Biden is holding a call this morning with allies and partners “to underscore our continued support for Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression.”
The Foreign Military Financing is on top of a separate $675 million package of heavy weaponry, ammunition and armored vehicles for Ukraine alone that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced earlier Thursday at a conference in Ramstein, Germany.