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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during their meeting in Kyiv on May 14, 2024. (U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken/X)
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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the latter's visit to Kyiv on May 14.

The president thanked Blinken for the "crucial package" of $61 billion in U.S. aid passed by Congress in April. While this decision unblocked the flow of American assistance after six months of delays, it will likely still take some time before the effects are felt on the battlefield.

"A big appreciation from Ukrainians to Americans for this," Zelensky said.

The president stressed that Kyiv hopes to see the U.S. assistance arriving as soon as possible, Ukrinform reported.

Ukraine's head of state said that Ukrainian defenders went through a "tough period" in the east of the country. Russian forces leveraged Ukraine's ammunition shortages, compounded by the lack of U.S. aid, and ramped up pressure along the front.

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In February, Russian forces captured Avdiivka, a key front-line city in Donetsk Oblast, and subsequently shifted focus toward the town of Chasiv Yar. Most recently, Moscow's troops launched new offensive operations in the north of Kharkiv Oblast, accompanying the campaign with heavy shelling and airstrikes.

In talks with Blinken, Zelensky underscored the need for air defenses, saying that two Patriot air defense systems are required to defend Kharkiv and Kharkiv Oblast.

Following their talks, Zelensky said that he and Blinken discussed the situation on the battlefield, further defense cooperation, preparations for the global peace summit scheduled for mid-June in Switzerland, and the signing of a bilateral security deal.

"We are actively working to finalize the preparation of the agreement on security guarantees, which must take into account the capabilities of the United States as the strongest partner. We expect the agreement to be signed shortly," Zelensky said.

"Thank you to the American people, the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives, President (Joe) Biden and his team for supporting our fight for freedom and independence," Zelensky said on Telegram.

Blinken arrives in Ukraine for official visit
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who arrived in Ukraine by train early in the morning on May 14, hopes to “send a strong signal of reassurance to the Ukrainians who are obviously in a very difficult moment.”
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