Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin talk during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Nov. 20, 2023. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

US Secretary of Defense Makes Surprise Visit to Kyiv

VOA News|

KYIV, UKRAINE — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced $100 million in new military aid for Ukraine during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday, part of an effort to reassure Ukrainian leaders that the United States will continue to support the country’s fight against Russia’s invasion.

After an overnight train ride from Poland, Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, who thanked the U.S. defense secretary.

“Your coming is a very important signal for Ukraine,” said Zelenskyy. “We are very thankful to the American people. They are with us [through] all these difficulties, tough months and all these years.”

The additional U.S. military aid to Ukraine comes from existing stockpiles of weapons and includes artillery, interceptors for air defense and another High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

During their meeting Monday, Austin praised the “grit, ingenuity,” and “courage” of the Ukrainian people and pledged continued U.S. support for Ukraine.

“The message that I bring you today, Mr. President, is that the United States of America is with you. We will remain with you for the long haul,” he told Zelenskyy. “What happens here in Ukraine not only matters to Ukraine, but it matters to the rest of the world.”

Following the meeting, Austin told reporters that he believes Ukraine is “prepared for combat in the winter.”

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