The US Secretaries of State and Defense met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday night, the highest-level visit by an American team to the war-torn country’s capital since Russia’s invasion began.
In an interview with Ukrainian television, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych confirmed the meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Zelenskyy Lobbied the West to counter Russia
It occurred as Ukraine lobbied the West for more powerful weapons to counter Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas area, where Moscow’s forces were attempting to drive Ukrainian troops out of the damaged port of Mariupol.
“They are meeting with President Zelenskyy, yes.” In an interview with Ukrainian television, Mr. Arestovych remarked, “Let’s hope something will be determined on future assistance.” Before the meeting, Mr. Zelenskyy stated that he expected the Americans to deliver results in terms of armaments and security guarantees. “You can’t come to us empty-handed today, and we’re expecting certain items and particular weaponry, not just presents or some kind of cake,” he stated.
Mr. Zelenskyy’s last face-to-face encounter with a senior US official took place on February 19 in Munich with Vice President Kamala Harris, five days before Russia’s incursion. While the West has provided Ukraine with military hardware, Mr. Zelenskyy has stated repeatedly that his country requires more heavy weapons, such as long-range air defense systems and fighters.
In an apparent boost for Ukraine, polling organizations predicted that French President Emmanuel Macron would defeat far-right challenger Marine Le Pen in his re-election bid. The outcome was praised as a reassuring sign of stability and ongoing support for Ukraine by France’s European Union allies. France is selling weapons systems to Ukraine and has played a prominent role in international efforts to impose sanctions on Russia.
The encounter between Mr. Zelenskyy and US officials took place as Ukrainians and Russians celebrated Orthodox Easter when believers commemorate Jesus’ resurrection. Mr. Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, spoke from Kyiv’s ancient St. Sophia Cathedral, emphasizing its relevance to a nation traumatized by nearly two months of conflict.
“Today’s wonderful celebration offers us enormous optimism and unshakeable trust that light will triumph over darkness, good will triumph over evil, life will triumph over death, and so Ukraine will undoubtedly triumph!” he declared.
On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Turkey, followed by Moscow and Kyiv. Mr. Zelenskyy, Guterres made a mistake by visiting Russia before Ukraine. “Why? Russia’s signals to be handed over? “What should we be on the lookout for?” Saturday, Mr. Zelenskyy stated. “On the Kutuzovsky Prospect,” he remarked, referring to one of Moscow’s principal thoroughfares, “there are no corpses dispersed.”