Blinken announces $2B in aid for Europe during surprise Kyiv trip
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced during a visit to Kyiv Thursday that the U.S. will provide $2.2 billion in military aid to Ukraine and 18 other European countries that are "potentially at risk of future Russian aggression."
Why it matters: The new aid comes after Ukraine launched its first major counter-offensive at the end of last month to retake Russian-occupied Kherson in the country's south.
- A senior State Department official told reporters ahead of Blinken's visit to Ukraine that the newest influx of aid is intended to help bolster Ukraine's standing "so that when we get to the day where we move to a negotiated settlement, Ukraine is in the strongest possible position," the Washington Post reported.
The big picture: The aid will come in the form of long-term Foreign Military Financing, which enables recipients to buy U.S.-made defense equipment, AP reported.
- Roughly $1 billion of the new financing will be allotted to Ukraine while the rest is divided by other European countries, per AP.
- The other recipients are Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
- Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, on a visit to Germany on Thursday, announced that the Department of Defense would concurrently provide a $675 million package of military equipment, including howitzers, anti-tank systems and artillery ammunition.
- The new aid announcements on Thursday bring the Biden administration's total assistance to Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion to $13.5 billion, per the New York Times.
What they're saying: "Ukraine's extraordinary front-line defenders continue to courageously fight for their country’s freedom, and President Biden has been clear we will support the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes," Blinken said in a statement.
- Blinken added that the U.S. assistance to Ukraine is "carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield."
- Aid to the other European countries will "deter and defend against emergent threats to their sovereignty and territorial integrity" by bolstering their military integration with NATO and combatting "Russian influence and aggression," the statement said.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.