Pentagon chief Austin tells Zelensky in Kyiv that US support is 'for the long haul'

© Getty Images via AFP – Alex Wong

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday in a high-profile push to keep money and weapons flowing to Ukraine even as US and international resources are stretched by the new global risks raised by the Israel-Hamas war.

Austin, who traveled to Kyiv by train from Poland, met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and was scheduled to meet with Defence Minister Rustem Umerov and Chief of Staff General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

In Kyiv, Austin said Ukraine's effort to defeat Russia's invasion “matters to the rest of the world" and that US support would continue “for the long haul."

Zelensky said Austin's visit was “a very important signal for Ukraine”.

“We count on your support,” Zelensky said, thanking Congress as well as the American people for their backing.

This is Austin’s second trip to Kyiv, but he’s making it under far different circumstances, as the world’s attention is drawn to the Middle East and signs of fatigue set in with the almost 21-month Russia-Ukraine war.

Austin's first visit occurred in April 2022, just two months after the start of the war. At the time, Ukraine was riding a wave of global anger at Moscow’s invasion, and Austin launched an international effort that now sees 50 countries meet monthly to coordinate on what weapons, training and other support could be pushed to Kyiv.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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