US to reopen embassy in Kyiv, promise more aid to Ukraine



The United States has promised to reopen its embassy in Kyiv soon, as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the Ukrainian capital and hailed its success so far against the Russian invasion.

The pair said on Monday that the fact they were able to come to Kyiv was proof of Ukraine’s tenacity in forcing Moscow to back off an assault on the capital last month, and pledged more help to repel Russian troops now trying to advance east.

“What you did to repel the Russians in the battle for kyiv is extraordinary and frankly inspiring to the rest of the world,” Mr Austin told President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting overnight after a train journey. from Poland.

“We are here to support you in any way we can.”

US officials said they have pledged new aid worth $713 million ($984 million) to Mr Zelensky’s government and other countries in the region that fear further Russian aggression.

“In terms of Russia’s war aims, Russia has already failed and Ukraine has already succeeded,” Blinken said at a briefing in Poland after the two officials returned.

Russia has always denied that it intends to overthrow the Ukrainian government. Western countries say that was his goal from the start, but he failed in the face of Ukrainian resistance.

Just weeks ago, Kyiv was a frontline city under curfew and bombardment, with tens of thousands of Russian troops massed in its northern outskirts. Residents spent nights huddled in its subway stations, sheltered from artillery.

Today, the nearest Russian troops are hundreds of miles away, normal life is returning to the capital, Western leaders are visiting and countries are reopening their embassies.

Blinken said US diplomats would first return to Lviv in the west and should be back in Kyiv within weeks.

But although Ukraine repelled the assault on kyiv, the war is far from over.

Russia has regrouped its forces and sent more troops to eastern Ukraine. Last week, he launched a massive assault there in an attempt to seize the eastern provinces known as Donbass.

Five railway stations came under fire in western and central Ukraine on Monday, killing an unknown number of people, Ukrainian television said citing Ukrainian railways.

Across the border, in the Russian region of Bryansk, authorities were battling a huge fire at an oil depot. There was no immediate indication the blaze was war-related, but Russia blamed Ukraine for a helicopter attack in the area last week.

Prior to the US officials’ visit, Ukraine had drawn up a list of weapons urgently needed by the United States, such as anti-missile systems, anti-aircraft systems, armored vehicles and tanks, the United States said on Sunday. Zelensky’s assistant Igor Zhovkva told NBC News.

In a daily update on the conflict, the British Ministry of Defense said Russia had made only minor progress in parts of Donbass.

“Without sufficient logistical and combat support assets in place, Russia has yet to achieve a significant breakthrough,” he said.

In a moving speech at kyiv’s 1,000-year-old Saint Sophia Cathedral to mark Orthodox Christian Easter on Sunday, Mr Zelensky said his country would overcome “dark times”.

The relative calm in Kyiv contrasts with the south and east of the country, where the war continues unabated.

About 320 kilometers southeast of kyiv, Russian missile fire at an oil refinery and a power plant in Kremenchuk left one dead and seven injured, the governor of the Poltava region said.

The Ukrainian General Staff described Russian shelling and assaults along most of the eastern front, including missile and bomb attacks on a huge steelworks in Mariupol where the last Ukrainian defenders are dug in a city destroyed during two months of Russian siege and bombardment.

Moscow, which describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”, denies targeting civilians.

European Union prepares ‘smart sanctions’ against Russian oil imports, possibly a form of oil embargo, Britain The temperature the newspaper reported on Monday, citing European Commission executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis.



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