Top White House official visits Kiev
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in Kiev on Friday, reiterating Washington’s support for the country’s armed forces while discussing details of the latest security package.
The previously unannounced trip was confirmed by National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson, who said Sullivan spoke with Zelensky and other senior officials to “underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine and its people as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“We fully intend to ensure that the resources are there as necessary and that we'll get votes from both sides of the isle to make that happen,” Sullivan told reporters in Kiev, adding “There will be no wavering, no flagging, no flinching of our support as we go forward.”
The national security advisor also outlined a new round of military aid for Ukraine worth $400 million, saying it would include “refurbished” T-72 tanks, drones, as well as the “refurbishment of HAWK surface to air missiles for eventual transfer to Ukraine.”
President Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said Kiev “received confirmation of unwavering support for our victory” during Friday’s meeting with Sullivan, adding “Our friends and partners are with us, they fully understand our situation.”
On Thursday, the Ukrainian leader met with a pair of US senators, Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Rob Portman, who Zelensky hailed as “true friends of Ukraine.” The lawmakers said they traveled to Kiev to “discuss Ukraine’s needs” and “show American solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
Despite the apparent bipartisan support, some in Congress have criticized the massive amounts of aid approved for Ukraine this year, with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy recently warning his party would not continue to write a “blank check” for Kiev if it wins a majority in the upcoming midterm election.
In addition to humanitarian and financial assistance, Washington has approved just shy of $19 billion in direct military aid to Ukraine since President Joe Biden took office, the bulk of it authorized after Russia sent troops into the country in February. Though much of that support has yet to reach the battlefield, the Pentagon has vowed to send a long list of heavy and light weapons platforms, equipment, vehicles and ammunition.