Blinkin makes surprise visit to Kyiv at crucial point in Ukraine-Russia war

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv today to reassure an ally facing a fierce new Russian offensive. He met President Volodymyr Zelensky and assured him that after months of delays, the American military aid on its way to Ukraine would make a “real difference” on the battlefield.

The visit comes as Russia continues its push into northeastern Ukraine after making several major advances there over the past week. In increasingly intense attacks along the northeastern border in recent days, Moscow’s troops have captured around 100 to 125 square kilometers (40 to 50 square miles) in the Kharkiv region and this includes at least seven villages, according to open-source monitoring analysts. These are the most significant gains for Russia since Kyiv’s forces recaptured Kharkiv in 2022. Though most of those villages were already depopulated, more than 7,000 people have been evacuated from the Kharkiv region, an official reported.

The Kremlin’s forces have also made a concerted push in the east as they try to drive deeper into the partly occupied Donetsk region. The main focus of Russian attacks on Tuesday was Pokrovsk, just inside the Ukrainian border in Donetsk, where the Kremlin’s forces launched 24 assaults, the Ukrainian general staff said in a report. Analysts have called this moment one of the most dangerous for Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

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