'You are not alone': Blinken vows to bring Ukraine 'closer to Nato' during surprise visit to Kyiv

14 May 2024, 17:58 | Updated: 14 May 2024, 18:00

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Ukraine that the US stands beside them, during a surprise visit to Kyiv.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Ukraine that the US stands beside them, during a surprise visit to Kyiv. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle De Wolfe

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Ukraine "you are not alone" during a surprise visit to Kyiv on Tuesday.

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Blinken delivered the remarks in Kyiv in a show of solidarity and reassurance to the Ukrainian people, noting that the US stands beside them amid escalating attacks from Russia.

As part of the address, Blinken said: "Russia is going back in time. Ukraine is moving forward".

He added that Putin has "always underestimated" a key point that Ukrainians have long understood: "the fierceness with which free people will defend their right to continue living freely".

The news followed congress' approval of a long-awaited $60 billion foreign assistance and aid package last month, destined for Ukraine.

Meeting with President Zelensky earlier in the day, he reassured him that military aid is "now on its way".

Blinken delivered the remarks in Kyiv in a show of solidarity and reassurance to the Ukrainian people, noting that the US stands beside them amid escalating attacks from Russia.
Blinken delivered the remarks in Kyiv in a show of solidarity and reassurance to the Ukrainian people, noting that the US stands beside them amid escalating attacks from Russia. Picture: Alamy
Blinken delivered the remarks in Kyiv in a show of solidarity and reassurance to the Ukrainian people, noting that the US stands beside them amid escalating attacks from Russia.
Blinken delivered the remarks in Kyiv in a show of solidarity and reassurance to the Ukrainian people, noting that the US stands beside them amid escalating attacks from Russia. Picture: Alamy

It comes as shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and shadow defence secretary John Healey's visited Kyiv on Monday.

The trip was a bid to reassure Kyiv that the Labour Party "fully backs" Britain's increased military aid and that there would be "no change" in the support offered to Ukraine under a Labour government.

During the visit, the US secretary of state said: "The spirit of Ukrainians cannot be destroyed by a bomb or buried in a mass grave, it cannot be bought with a bribe or repressed with a threat.

"It is pure, it is unbreakable and it is why Ukraine will succeed," he says, before concluding his speech.

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As part of his speech, Blinken also vowed to make Russia pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine, as well as asserting the conflict would bring Ukraine "closer to Nato".

"There is one more crucial step we can take: making Russia pay for Ukraine's recovery and reconstruction," he said.

Blinken delivered the remarks in Kyiv in a show of solidarity and reassurance to the Ukrainian people, noting that the US stands beside them amid escalating attacks from Russia.
Blinken delivered the remarks in Kyiv in a show of solidarity and reassurance to the Ukrainian people, noting that the US stands beside them amid escalating attacks from Russia. Picture: Alamy

"What Putin destroyed Russia should and must pay to rebuild. It's what international law demands. It's what the Ukrainian people deserve."

It comes as the UK's Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said he will not try to "strong-arm" Kyiv into accepting a peace deal, as Moscow steps up its assault as part of a major Ukraine offensive.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps' comments follow Rishi Sunak's attempts to dodge questions on Monday about a report that Lord David Cameron persuaded Donald Trump to back more funding for Ukraine on the basis that it would allow the Republican to secure a peace deal between Moscow and Kyiv if he wins the US election.