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Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Congress on April 28. Photo: Melina Mara/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Kyiv on May 5-6 to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to "reaffirm unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression," the State Department announced Friday.

Why it matters: Blinken will be the most senior-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine during the Biden administration. The trip comes in the aftermath of massive Russia military exercises near the Ukrainian border, and could precede a summit this summer between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Context: Russia said it was partially ending its large military build up near Ukraine's eastern border last week and withdrew troops, though it will leave armored vehicles there until the fall, according to the New York Times.

  • Ukrainian troops are still battling Russian-backed separatist groups in eastern Ukraine, and Russian troops continue to illegally occupy Crimea.
  • Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are running high, with both countries expelling diplomats and imposing sanctions in recent weeks after the U.S. accused Russia of an array of destabilizing cyber activities.

What they're saying: Secretary Blinken will "encourage continued progress on Ukraine’s institutional reform agenda, particularly anti-corruption action, which is key to securing Ukraine’s democratic institutions, economic prosperity, and Euro-Atlantic future," the State Department said.

The big picture: Blinken's Ukrainian trip will come after he attends the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting in London on May 3-5. President Biden will meet with G7, NATO and EU allies in England and Brussels in June as part of his first overseas trip.

Go deeper ... Scoop: Leaked Ukraine memo reveals scope of Russia's aggression

Go deeper

Blinken tells diplomats State Department lacks answers for "Havana syndrome"

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 5. Photo: Saul Loeb/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter obtained by NBC News that the Department of State lacks answers for the cause of and treatments for unexplained health incidents that have affected U.S. diplomats working in multiple countries.

Why it matters: As many as 200 Americans who worked in overseas posts have said they experienced symptoms consistent with "Havana Syndrome," which has been used to describe mysterious brain injuries suffered by embassy staff.

39 mins ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."