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Ukraine: Blinken reassures kyiv about military aid, Moscow says "advance" in the northeast

The head of American diplomacy, on a surprise visit to Ukraine on Tuesday, tried to to reassure kyiv about the arrival of American military aid, at a time when Moscow assures "advance in depth" during his offensive in the border region of Kharkiv.

The Russian army assured Tuesday that it had penetrated “deep into the Ukrainian defenses” and claimed the capture of a new village in the northeast of the country, where it launched a ground offensive on Friday , after weeks of bombing.

At the same time, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who arrived in Kiev in the morning for a surprise visit, promised during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, that aid was “on the way”

“Some has already arrived, more will arrive” and “this will make a real difference on the battlefield,” he assured.

The United States, against a backdrop of internal disputes between Republicans and Democrats, took months to release some $61 billion in assistance promised by the White House, so much so that the Ukrainian army found itself short of resources. weapons at a time when Russia was once again on the attack during the fall and winter of 2023-2024.

The Ukrainian president insisted on the need to receive more air defense means, requesting two Patriots batteries for the Kharkiv region, the same region targeted by a Russian ground assault since May 10 and which has suffered intense bombings in recent weeks, leading in particular to electricity rationing. .

M. Blinken, whose fourth visit to kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022, arrived by night train in the Ukrainian capital from Poland.

Three weeks after the release of American assistance, the United States released some $1.4 billion in military aid to draw on its stocks, mainly Patriot and NASAMS anti-aircraft systems which Ukraine is sorely lacking, as well as only ammunition for artillery.

– 'Reassure the Ukrainians'-

Ukraine: Blinken reassures kyiv about military aid, Moscow says "advance" in the northeast

Villagers flee a town near Kharkiv, May 13, 2024 © AFP – Roman PILIPEY

But the flow must accelerate considerably to make up for the lost months, especially since Russia has the initiative on the battlefield, has reserves of men and weapons and has put a war economy in place.

“This trip is primarily intended to send a strong signal to reassure the Ukrainians who clearly find themselves in a very difficult situation , both because of intensified fighting on the Eastern Front, but also because the Russians are now expanding their cross-border attacks into Kharkiv,” a senior U.S. official aboard the train carrying the Secretary of State.

Russia launched a surprise offensive on Friday against the Kharkiv region, whose eponymous capital is Ukraine's second city and is located near the common border.

Ukraine: Blinken reassures kyiv about military aid, Moscow says "advance" in the northeast

Ukraine: positions of military forces © AFP – Valentin RAKOVSKY, Sophie RAMIS, Cléa PECULIER

The Russian Defense Ministry assured in a statement on Tuesday that its soldiers had “liberated” the village of Bougrouvatka, near the Russian border and the Ukrainian city of Vovchansk, and had “advanced deep into enemy defenses”.

According to the Ukrainian general staff, Russia has achieved “tactical successes” and around thirty villages are under enemy fire. Some 7,000 people were evacuated.

This operation raised fears of a Russian breakthrough in the face of a Ukrainian army lacking resources and which was already under heavy pressure on the Eastern and Southern fronts. . President Zelensky assured Monday evening that “counterattacks” were taking place in the Kharkiv region and that the sector had been reinforced.

In an interview with AFP, the head of Ukrainian national security, Oleksandr Lytvynenko, indicated that “more than 30,000” Russian soldiers were attacking in this area.

– 'Difficult to defend'-

He however estimated that, for the moment, no “threat” weighed on the large city of Kharkiv, located around thirty kilometers from the combat zone and which had nearly a million and a half inhabitants before the Russian invasion.

Ukraine: Blinken reassures kyiv about military aid, Moscow says "advance" in the northeast

Evacuation of civilians in the surroundings of Kharkiv, May 13, 2024 © AFP – Roman PILIPEY

Russian forces entered through “villages located on the very border and which it was difficult for us to defend,” Volodymyr Oussov, administrator of the Kharkiv military district, explained to AFP.

“They are on high ground and are bombarding us from there, and with their superior numbers of infantry, they are launching assaults on our positions,” he said. he continued to a checkpoint outside Kharkiv.

In addition, during the night from Monday to Tuesday, a Russian strike against Kharkiv left two people injured, according to the authorities local.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116