Blinken’s meeting with Zelensky indicates the momentum for diplomacy on the ground

Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Reported this evening by The Associated Press – On the same day came the only Ukrainian-born member of Congress who called on the United States to resume diplomatic services in the country.

why does it matter: The trip that Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin took was fraught with danger – but it was only the kind that Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-India) said the United States should make.

  • “In any job, whether it’s a political job or a diplomatic job, you take some risk – you have to be smart – but, also, this is part of your job: to perform your service,” she said on “State of the Union” program on CNN.
  • “A lot of people and a lot of countries are already bringing them in [diplomats] Return to Kyiv, but the least we can actually do is bring it perhaps to Lviv. ”
  • “If you’re not on the ground, it’s very difficult to do your job. So, I think it’s important, and it also sends a strong message to the Ukrainian people,” Spartz said.

Blinken and Austin are the highest-ranking US officials who have met the Ukrainian leader since the war began on February 24.

  • The foreign minister briefly ascended to Ukrainian territory during his visit to Poland in March. Then he met the country’s foreign minister.

Between the lines: Blinken’s trip to Europe – disguised in such secrecy that colleagues in the administration refused to discuss before his arrival – begins a big week for him.

  • An administration source said the secretary will testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • Axios learned that among his stops were appearances before the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees.
  • Committee aides confirmed to Axios that he will testify Tuesday before the Senate committee, and will appear again Thursday before the House committee.
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Committee members are keen To ask Blinken publicly about the administration’s response to Ukraine, as well as its decisions regarding the timing and amount of military assistance, as well as the specific weapons the United States has sent to Ukraine.

the background: The United States closed its embassy in Ukraine in mid-February, as Russia reinforced its forces along the border.

  • Many employees went west to Lviv, Ukraine, and then to Poland.
  • Politico I mentioned last week Members of Congress and former diplomats are among those eager to return.

Last: Spartz (Republic of India) spoke to CNN from Kyiv, where she was visiting her grandmother on the Orthodox Easter holiday.

  • Igor Zhovka, Zelensky’s adviser, used his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to demand more guns.
  • “We also need anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems, because Ukrainian cities are bombed daily and at night with cruise missiles,” Zovka said.

The president announced last Thursday The United States will send another $800 million in military aid to Ukraine, including heavy artillery.

  • This brings the total US military aid since the Russian invasion to about $3.4 billion.
  • “We’ve been announcing accomplishments — which is a great word for the things we give the Ukrainians to enable them to fight — almost every day, if not every day, every week “.
  • “We’ll have more to say about that next week.”

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