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Blinken says U.S. rushing ammunition, weapons to Ukraine amid fierce new fighting

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LA Post: Blinken says U.S. rushing ammunition, weapons to Ukraine amid fierce new fighting
May 15, 2024
Reuters

KYIV (Reuters) - The United States is rushing ammunition and weapons to the front lines in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday during a visit to the country which has lately faced setbacks in its war with Russia.

Kyiv has pleaded for quicker delivery of artillery shells and air-defence systems amid Russian advances that are straining Ukraine's outmanned and outgunned military.

Moscow's forces have also stepped up attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure in recent weeks far behind the lines of its 26-month-old full-scale invasion.

"We're rushing ammunition, armoured vehicles, missiles, air defences - rushing them to get to the front lines to protect soldiers, to protect civilians," Blinken said during a press conference in Kyiv.

The top diplomat is the most senior U.S. official to visit Ukraine since the U.S. Congress passed a long-delayed $61 billion aid package last month.

Blinken, speaking as Ukrainian troops fought off a new Russian ground incursion into the northeastern Kharkiv region, said he expected President Joe Biden to meet Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the coming weeks.

He also said Washington has not "encouraged or enabled" strikes on Russia but that it was Ukraine's decision "about how it is going to conduct this war".

Strategic infrastructure targets in Russia such as oil facilities have come under regular drone and missile attacks in recent weeks, although Ukraine has not publicly confirmed its involvement.

"We will continue to back Ukraine with the equipment that it needs to succeed, that it needs to win," Blinken said.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Alex Richardson and Peter Graff)

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