AP The head of the US Defense Department arrived in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, by train from Poland. “Today I am here to deliver an important message: America will stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine now and in the future,” Mr. Austin wrote on the social network X.
The US Defense Secretary’s visit to Ukraine was not announced in advance due to security concerns.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (right) arrived in Kiev on November 20. Photo: X/Lloyd Austin
It is Mr Austin’s second visit to Ukraine since the country’s conflict with Russia ended in late February 2022.
However, the visit is taking place in the context of the Israel-Hamas conflict, which is diverting the world’s attention from Ukraine.
After the country was suddenly attacked by Hamas on October 7, the US sent two aircraft carrier groups, several fighter jets and thousands of troops to the Middle East to show support for ally Israel.
Ukraine has so far received more than USD 44 billion from the US and more than USD 35 billion from other allies – including artillery shells, air defense systems, tanks… and also a commitment to provide aircraft. Is. F-16 war.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has lasted for nearly 20 months but shows no signs of slowing down. Ukraine therefore needs to continue providing more support to the US and its allies, but the Kiev-West rift is beginning to become apparent.
Some European countries, such as Poland, have reduced military support for Ukraine to ensure self-defense.
Even opposition from hardline Republican lawmakers has cast doubt on Washington’s ability to continue aid to Kiev as Ukraine prepares for a second winter of conflict.