Jake Sullivan makes secret trip to Ukraine amid US aid stalemate

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By journalsofus.com

National security adviser Jake Sullivan secretly traveled to Ukraine on Wednesday in a trip intended to reaffirm U.S. support for the embattled ally despite a stalemate in Congress over additional measures. funding for the war effort.

Sullivan arrived in Ukraine when the country’s forces are on his back foothaving retreated from the eastern town of Avdiivka and faced Russian advances across the front.

kyiv faces a chronic shortage of ammunition and soldiers while, in the United States, lawmakers in the House of Representatives consider a Senate aid package that includes $60 billion for Ukraine. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has so far rejected calls to vote on the measureprompting the White House to scramble to find weapons and equipment it could send to Ukraine.

“They should believe in America,” Sullivan told reporters at a briefing at Ukraine’s presidential office in kyiv. “We are confident that we will achieve it. “We will bring this aid to Ukraine.”

During his trip, Sullivan seek to increase enthusiasm for a war effort that president biden he hoped to campaign as a symbol of his administration’s leadership against autocratic aggression. Ukrainian officials have warned that morale is going down as the war moves into its third year.

“It’s there to underscore our commitment to Ukraine and reaffirm that we’re committed to being with them for the long haul,” said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Sullivan’s wartime trip.

A faction of Republicans in Congress has withheld additional funds for Ukraine, blaming the administration for failing to spell out a vision for victory and saying the tens of billions of dollars already spent have only come to a standstill.

Sullivan responded to detractors, noting that assistance from the United States and the West has been critical in protecting kyiv’s independence while allowing parts of its economy to recover and moving the country closer toward European Union membership. Sullivan on Wednesday emphasized his hope that Ukraine will emerge from the war as a thriving democracy. . “We are going to work every day to make that happen,” she said. “There is a critical military dimension to that, which means providing the necessary support, supplies and weapons.”

“We will get a strong bipartisan vote in the House for an aid package for Ukraine, and we will get that money out as we should, so I don’t think we need to talk about Plan B today,” Sullivan said in Kiev. “Time has already taken too long… We are working to do it as soon as possible.”

Sullivan intends to They underscore that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “been a complete mistake” for President Vladimir Putin, an official familiar with his plans said while in kyiv. “Ukraine is far exceeding what many predicted and we must stick to them,” the official added.

Sullivan pressed that point Wednesday, saying that “Russia has already failed in this war.”

The visit will also allow Sullivan to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and discuss the path forward for Ukraine, the official said.

Sullivan spoke to reporters Wednesday alongside Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s top adviser who serves as head of the presidential office.

Sullivan’s effort to boost morale follows a meeting Tuesday in Germany among Ukraine’s military supporters. There, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Ukraine’s survival was in “jeopardy” and said continued US assistance was a matter of “honor” for Washington.

“Ukraine will not back down, and neither will the United States,” Austin said, sitting next to Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov. “So our message today is clear: the United States will not let Ukraine fail. This coalition will not allow Ukraine to fail. And the free world will not allow Ukraine to fail.”

In lieu of new funding from Congress, the Pentagon last week released a $300 million aid package that includes Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, 155-millimeter artillery shells, 105-millimeter artillery shells, anti-armor systems, and other munitions and equipment. It was the first such announcement in several weeks, made possible by unexpected savings from Defense Department contracts to replenish weapons previously donated to kyiv.

Sullivan said Wednesday that Washington is “sending those supplies” to Ukraine. He declined to comment on whether a shipment of long-range ATACMS missiles, provided by the United States, was already in the country. Ukraine has long pushed for more long-range weapons to allow its forces to attack military targets far from the front line.

O’Grady reported from Kyiv.

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