On Sunday, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a lightning visit to Ukraine. The two American officials met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his cabinet.
Top soldier and diplomat in Ukraine
If Austin was something during his visit, that was direct. The secretary of defense came out of the gate and said that the U.S. wants to see Russian military capability so diminished that Moscow won’t be able to undertake similar campaigns of aggression against its neighbors in the near future.
“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin said.
“The strategy that we’ve put in place – massive support for Ukraine, massive pressure against Russia, solidarity with more than 30 countries engaged in these efforts – is having real results,” the U.S. Secretary of State said.
Instead of toppling the Ukrainian government and winning the war, Moscow is losing men left and right, while its economy is taking a dive because of the unprecedented sanctions imposed on it by the West.
“And we’re seeing that when it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding. Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate Ukraine – to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence. That has failed. It’s sought to assert the power of its military and its economy. We of course are seeing just the opposite – a military that is dramatically underperforming; an economy, as a result of sanctions, as a result of a mass exodus from Russia, that is in shambles.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin warned again the U.S. to stop providing Ukraine with arms.
U.S. Embassy in Kyiv Reopens?
Ambassador Bridget Brink, the current U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, has been nominated for the post and will now have to be confirmed by the Senate. The top spot in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine has been vacant for over a year, with a charge d’Affaires responsible for American diplomatic operations in the country.
Brink previously served as the Senior Advisor and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and as the deputy chief of mission in Uzbekistan and Georgia.
The secretary of state’s visit to Ukraine revealed another scoop. The U.S. is considering reopening the U.S. embassy in Kyiv soon.
“Underscoring our intensive diplomatic engagement, Secretary Blinken also relayed that U.S. diplomats will be returning to Ukraine this week. The increased U.S. presence demonstrates our support for Ukraine and is part of the U.S. commitment to return our diplomats to our Embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible. This action will strengthen the Department’s ongoing commitment to facilitate humanitarian relief efforts and the delivery of assistance to the Government of Ukraine, while providing enhanced support to U.S. citizens,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a press release.
As the likelihood of a Russian invasion increased in late February, the U.S. closed its embassy in Kyiv and moved all diplomats to Lviv, a Ukrainian city a few miles from the border with Poland in the west of the country. Then, as the war began and the Russian military started targeting almost all Ukrainian cities, including Lviv, the U.S. moved its diplomats to Poland.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.