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Blinken: No doubt there has been ‘cost in months-long delay’ of aid for Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 13, 2024 12:40 AM 2 min read
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris on April 2, 2024. (Benoit Tessier / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
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Without a doubt, there has been a cost in the "months-long delay in getting the supplementary budget request approved and the equipment sent out to Ukraine," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS News on May 12.

Despite the setbacks, Blinken also said he believes Ukraine can "hold the line in the east," as Russian troops launched a new offensive operation targeting Kharkiv Oblast earlier on May 10.

"I'm convinced Ukraine can effectively hold the line in the east," Blinken said during a televised interview. "It can continue to press the advantages achieved for itself in the Black Sea, where it's getting as much out through the Black Sea, feeding the world as it did before the Russian re-invasion of Ukraine, as well as holding Russian forces at risk, including in Crimea to make it more difficult for them to continue this aggression."

"We've been providing the systems to do that, but it's a challenging moment," he added.

After six months of political infighting and delays, the U.S. recently passed a long-awaited $61 billion aid package, with much of it covering military aid. The following day, the Pentagon announced that it was ready to move forward with sending $1 billion worth of weapons to Kyiv from U.S. stockpiles.

But during the six-month break in funding, Ukraine lost the key front-line city of Avdiivka in February amid a severe ammunition shortage.

Blinken says they are "doing everything we can to rush this assistance" to Ukraine, adding that Europe is doing the same.

"Just this week, we did a drawdown of about $400 million in defense equipment for Ukraine coming from the supplemental," he said.

Earlier on May 10, U.S. President Joe Biden authorized a $400 million defense aid package for Ukraine, namely ammunition for Patriot and NASAMS air defenses, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, HIMARS systems and ammunition, 155 mm and 105 mm artillery shells, and equipment to integrate Western launchers, missiles, and radars with Ukrainian systems.

"We are not going anywhere, and neither are more than some 50 countries that are supporting Ukraine. That will continue, and if Putin thinks he can outlast Ukraine, outlast its supporters. He's wrong," Blinken said.

What Ukraine lost while waiting for the US aid bill to pass
The long-awaited passing of the U.S. aid bill in the House of Representatives over the weekend was swiftly followed by a collective sigh of relief in Ukraine and among the country’s allies. But frustration at the delays caused by political infighting in Congress has not completely subsided, as
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11:25 PM

Every Western decision is late by a year, says Zelensky.

Western partners have been deliberating key decisions on military assistance for Ukraine for "too long," President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 20 in an interview with Reuters. The president described the delivery of aid, particularly badly needed air defense, as "one big step forward, but before that, two steps back."
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