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 for freedom,” 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 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 military 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 military 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 the Middle East, in particular, to Israel.
Also, US allies are concerned over depleted resources in America.
The United States alone has supplied Kiev with over $100bn worth of weapons and munitions.
However, US leaders have repeatedly said that Washington would continue to support the leaders in Kiev for “as long as it takes” to defeat the Russian forces.
Hard-line Republican lawmakers’ opposition to continued arms aid, the recent decrease in arms supply to Kiev, and the shifting of attention to Palestine have raised doubts about Washington’s priorities across the globe in the future.
A senior US State Department official who approved US arms transfers to its allies across the globe even resigned over Washington’s decision to send weapons and munitions to Israel.
Josh Paul, who has been the long-time director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, tendered his resignation on Wednesday.
In his resignation letter, he wrote, “blind support for one side is destructive in the long term to the interests of the people on both sides.”
Paul said that American support of Israel only leads to more and deeper suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians, adding, “I fear we are repeating the same mistakes we have made these past decades, and I decline to be a part of it for longer.”
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