The US Secretary of State travels unannounced to Kyiv as a show of support for the fight against Russia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday unveiled another $1 billion in military and civilian aid for Ukraine as he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an unannounced visit to Kyiv.

More than $665 million will go to Ukraine’s military and civil security agencies, including high-mobility artillery rocket systems, mortars, ammunition, 120mm depleted uranium melters for Abrams tanks, as well as a series of other equipment. The funds will also be used to clear minefields and remove unexploded bombs.

The Secretary of State’s visit comes after Western officials warned that Ukraine’s summer counter-offensive against Russia had gone “slower than anticipated.” However, Blinken stated that “significant progress” had been made that was “very encouraging.”

“Progress in the fight against crime has accelerated in recent weeks,” Blinken told reporters. “This new aid will help maintain it and give greater impetus.”

In all, the United States has committed more than $43 billion in security aid to Ukraine since the February 2022 invasion.

His comments came hours after officials said a Russian artillery attack on a market in eastern Ukraine killed more than a dozen people in one of the deadliest attacks in weeks.

“President Joe Biden asked me to come here to strongly reaffirm our support, to make sure that we are maximizing the efforts that we are making,” Blinken told Zelenskyy.

Ukraine has been engaged in a counteroffensive for months to recapture parts of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions in the southeast of the country.

Zelenskyy recently returned from the front, where he met with the troops to boost their morale.

The Ukrainian leader replaced his defense minister earlier this week, citing the need for “new approaches.”

During their meeting, he thanked Blinken for the United States’ unwavering support.

“First of all, it helps us on the battlefield because the United States is really the leader of support on the battlefield,” he declared.

Blinken arrived in Kyiv hours after Russia launched its first missile attack in a week on the Ukrainian capital.

After arriving in Kyiv, Blinken laid a wreath at the city’s Berkovetske Cemetery in memory of the members of the Ukrainian armed forces who died defending the country.

The secretary of state’s trip is intended to signal US support for kyiv’s efforts to expel Moscow’s forces after 19 months of war, amid concern among some Western allies about the speed of progress.

“We want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs, not just to be successful in the counteroffensive, but what it needs in the long term, to make sure that it has a strong deterrent force,” Blinken said.

“We are also determined to continue working with our partners as they build and rebuild a strong economy, a strong democracy.”

Later, in a message posted on of the USA with Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, US officials said possible alternative routes for the export of Ukrainian grain will also be discussed following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal and its frequent bombing of port facilities in the Odessa region, from where it is transported. most of the grain abroad.

Alternatively, ships could skirt the coast to stay away from international waters, where they could be targeted by the Russian navy. Other possible land routes are also being studied.

Although Blinken has made four trips to Ukraine since the war began, this visit marks the first time he has spent the night in the capital since he visited kyiv in January 2022, before the invasion.

US officials said Blinken’s decision to spend the night in Kyiv was intended to send a symbolic signal of US support for Ukraine as the war dragged on.

Antony Blinken pledges to give Ukraine what it needs for the counteroffensive.

Willy Lowry