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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken en route to Kyiv, Ukraine on May 14, 2024. (U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken/X)
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Editor's note: The article was updated with a quote from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on social media.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on May 14, marking the first time a senior U.S. official has visited Ukraine since Congress approved a long-awaited $61 billion military aid package for the country last month.

Blinken, who arrived in Ukraine by train early in the morning, hopes to "send a strong signal of reassurance to the Ukrainians who are obviously in a very difficult moment," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity, Reuters reports.

"The Secretary's mission here is really to talk about how our supplemental assistance is going to be executed in a fashion to help shore up their defenses (and) enable them to increasingly take back the initiative on the battlefield," the official said.

The official mentioned that the artillery, along with long-range missiles referred to as ATACMS, and air defense interceptors, which were authorized by President Joe Biden on April 24, were already being delivered to the Ukrainian forces.

"I returned to Kyiv today to demonstrate our unwavering support for Ukraine as they defend their freedom against Russian aggression," Blinken wrote on social media.

On May 10, Biden authorized a $400 million defense aid package for Ukraine, according to a statement on the White House's website. The new package included 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.

While in Kyiv, Blinken will reassure Ukrainian officials including President Volodymyr Zelensky of enduring U.S. support and deliver a speech focused on Ukraine's future, the official said.

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