US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Ukraine has been making "real progress" in its counteroffensive against Russia as he visited the capital Kyiv, adding that Washington is "doing everything" to maximize its support to the country.
"As it happens, President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy just returned from the front lines, so I was able to hear directly from him his assessment of the counteroffensive. And I think it very much matches our own, which is, as I said, real progress in recent weeks," Blinken told reporters during a joint press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
"We are doing everything we can to maximize our support to Ukraine as it pursues a counteroffensive," he said.
"Beyond the extraordinary work the Ukrainians are doing, beyond even the equipment, the support, the training that we and dozens of other nations are providing, the fundamental difference maker is that Ukrainians are fighting for their own country, for their own future, for their own freedom; Russians are not. And that gives me tremendous confidence that Ukraine will prevail," he added.
Blinken reiterated his previous statement that Ukraine has taken back more than 50% of the territory that Russia seized from it since February 2022.
“In the ongoing counteroffensive, progress has accelerated in the past few weeks. This new assistance will help sustain it and build further momentum," he said.
Kuleba, for his part, said the US military support is "the most profitable investment into the security of Europe and Euro-Atlantic space and the whole world."
"Today, Ukraine, with the support of partners, we hold the advance of Russia to – we make them to decline their – imposing their will on other countries," he continued.
“Anyone in the world who has doubted that Ukraine and the US will stand shoulder to shoulder until the end of this war have received a powerful signal today that they are wrong. We are moving forward together because we understand this war is not just about the future of Ukraine, but the future of the world,” Kuleba said.
Blinken’s two-day trip marks his fourth visit to the war-torn country since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February last year.
During the visit, he announced $1 billion in new US support for Ukraine, including $665.5 million in new military and civilian security assistance.
The new aid includes HIMARS missile launch systems, Javelin antitank weapons, Abrams tanks and other weapons systems, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.
The US also will, for the first time, supply Ukraine with depleted uranium rounds, while Russia says it will treat it as an escalation in the conflict.
Prior to the press conference, Blinken and Kuleba stopped at a Kyiv McDonald's for lunch over french fries and a cherry pie. The fast food chain closed its restaurants in Ukraine shortly after the Russian war started and later reopened some of the branches.
Kuleba said during the press conference that the return of McDonald's "became a symbol of returning of American business back, and the symbol of assurance that it’s possible to create a big business in Ukraine and be with the people during a hard and important time in their life.”