At a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to reassure allies of continued US support for Ukraine, as Kyiv prepares for another winter of fighting.
The Russian Defense Ministry released a video on Wednesday showing its fighter jets and artillery troops firing at targets in Ukraine. Russian troops have stepped up incursions into Eastern Ukraine ahead of winter.
In Brussels, at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that some questioned whether the US and other NATO allies should continue to support Ukraine after nearly two years of a full-scale Russian invasion.
“But the answer here, today at the NATO meeting, is clear and it is unwavering. “We must and we will continue to support Ukraine,” Blinken said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba at a press conference during the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on Ukraine at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday, November 29, 2023. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Blinken has sought to continue to reassure worried allies that some Republicans in the US Congress are reluctant to continue providing large amounts of military aid to Ukraine. He said House Speaker Mike Johnson had spoken about the need to fund Kyiv recently, which Blinken called “encouraging.”
However, an analyst told VOA that additional funding for Ukraine is not in Blinken’s hands.
Michael Kimmage is Professor of History at The Catholic University of America.
“There is not much that Secretary of State Blinken can do as an executive regarding this matter. This is strictly in the hands of the legislature, a co-equal branch of government. And the Republican Party, right now, is resolving the differences that exist among themselves, or perhaps not resolving the differences,” said Kimmage.
Kimmage told VOA that Blinken sent a strong message by attending meetings of NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, during the Israel-Hamas war.
“And there are sort of accusations out there, or claims out there, that the US has now turned its attention to the Middle East and is not doing enough in its relations with Europe. “I think, by attending the NATO and OSCE meetings, that Secretary Blinken is firmly trying to send a signal that the US remains focused on Europe,” he added.
Blinken returned to the Middle East for talks on Thursday and Friday, the third time since the militant group Hamas sparked war with its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Blinken said he would work to extend the ceasefire so that more Israeli hostages could be freed and more humanitarian aid could be sent to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, who desperately need it. Blinken plans to visit Israel, Ramallah in the West Bank and the United Arab Emirates. (na/jm)