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Ukraine has ‘full support’ of US to repel Russia

The Hill logo The Hill 4/26/2022 Laura Kelly
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The Biden administration is committed to providing Ukraine with the military means to repel Russian forces from the whole of its country, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.

Blinken made his remarks under questioning from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that came following a whirlwind trip to Kyiv where the secretary, along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his top defense officials.

The secretary said that he left those meetings with the impression that Zelenksy’s objective “would be to push the Russians out of the territory that they’re trying to occupy in eastern Ukraine” and said that the Biden administration is providing “full support” to the Ukrainians to fight militarily or whether they choose to pursue diplomacy.

“Ultimately, it will be up to them, the Ukrainians, as a sovereign, independent country how they want to resolve this and we’ll see if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin ever gets to the point of being willing to engage in any meaningful negotiation about that. But that will be up to the Ukrainians, they will have our full support as they do now,” the secretary continued.

Further, the secretary said that Zelensky’s objective is to degrade Russia’s military, so it is unable to launch another attack against Ukraine in the “next month, next year or in five years,” and that the U.S. is committed to helping make sure Ukraine “has the effective capacity to deter and defend itself.”

Those comments echoed statements made by Austin on Monday that the U.S. wants to “see Russia weakened” so that it cannot “do the kinds of things that it has done.”

Video: 'This is what American leadership delivers': How the U.S. and allies help Ukraine (MSNBC)


Blinken also said that the Biden administration is “largely aligned” in providing the Ukrainians the military means it is requesting.

Zelensky and his officials have pressed that Western countries send larger weapons systems in what is a shift to an open battlefield in the east of the country compared to the urban warfare that took place around Kyiv. 

“I think we’re largely aligned in what they say they need and what we think we’re able to provide,” Blinken told lawmakers.

The secretary also said that the administration has managed to provide weapons deliveries to Ukraine within 72 hours compared to what would typically be a timeline of weeks.

“In the past it’s taken from the time a president made a draw-down decision to getting equipment into the hands of the people that needed it, weeks. Now, often, it’s 72 hours, from the time of the drawdown decision to the time the equipment is actually in the hands of the Ukrainians,” he said.

The secretary further said that he’s provided approval within “24 hours” for other countries to deliver weapons to Ukraine that require approval from Washington because they contain U.S.-origin technology. 

Blinken’s remarks come as President Biden is expected to send to Congress this week a request for additional funding to provide Ukraine with military support, building on more than $3.4 billion provided since Russia launched its invasion against its neighbor on Feb. 24.

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