Pentagon chief visits Ukraine to reassure Kiev amid concerns over US support
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin has made an unannounced visit to Ukraine to reassure Kiev that Washington will continue to support the former Soviet republic in its proxy war against Russia.
Austin “traveled to Ukraine today to meet with Ukrainian leaders and reinforce the staunch support of the United States for Ukraine’s fight against Russia,” Pentagon said in a statement on Monday.
He will also underscore the continued US commitment to providing Ukraine with the security assistance it needs to purportedly defend itself from Russian aggression, it added.
Austin’s trip to Kiev is his second visit to the former Soviet republic since Russia launched its special operation in Donbas in February 2022.
The United States is the major supplier of weapons and munitions to Kiev, and a reduction in Kiev’s share of US military aid would be a blow to Ukraine in its continued war against the Russian army.
During a congressional hearing last month, Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken were groveling in Congress begging support for Ukraine.
Back then, Austin confessed to lawmakers that “without our support, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will be successful.”
However, continued aid for Kiev was left out of a temporary deal passed by Congress last week to avert a US government shutdown.
In this regard, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh admitted earlier this month that military aid packages to Kiev “have been getting smaller because we have had to meter out our support for Ukraine.”
The United States began coordinating aid from dozens of wealthier ally countries, leading a push for Western countries’ support for Kiev right after Russia launched its campaign in Ukraine to stop Kiev’s persecution of the Russian-speaking population there and to prevent the US-led NATO forces from further encroachment.
However, there is growing concern among US allies across the globe over Washington’s focus generally shifting to West Asia, in particular, to the Occupied Territories.