Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III visited the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Monday, vowing support for government at a time when progress in the war against Russia as well as U.S. military aid have both stalled.
Mr. Austin was greeted by the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget A. Brink, according to a photograph he posted on X, formerly Twitter. He was scheduled to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and other senior officials.
“I’m here today to deliver an important message — the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine in their fight for freedom against Russia’s aggression, both now and into the future,” Mr. Austin said.
Rallying international backing as well as military aid has been a key priority for Mr. Zelensky since Russia’s invasion in February last year. But the country has faced a difficult few months amid signs of wavering support among some allies and the failure of a Ukrainian counteroffensive launched in the summer to achieve its main objectives.
Funding for Ukraine was omitted from a stopgap spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden last week, raising concerns about continuing military aid from the United States, which is by far the biggest backer of Kyiv’s war effort. Mr. Zelensky alluded to the issue in a speech released overnight in which he reiterated his view that Ukraine’s struggle matters beyond the country’s own fate.
“The key thing now is to make sure that support for Ukraine will be sufficient next year as well,” he said. “This signal must be sent to Russia: No matter what they do, the world will not get tired of defending freedom and international order.”
The admission this month by Ukraine’s top commander, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, that the war had reached an