U.S. to send another $2 billion to Ukraine amid Russian onslaught in Kharkiv

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The U.S. is set to send a new round of funding to Ukraine amounting to $2 billion as Russian forces pummel the Kharkiv region in the northeast. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the new aid package on May 15 during a press conference in the capital Kyiv, which also saw Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in attendance.

According to Blinken, the aid is part of a “first-of-its-kind defense enterprise fund” and will comprise three separate components.

The first will provide weapons to Ukraine. The second will invest in Ukraine’s defense industrial base to further strengthen its production capacity for itself and others. Lastly, the third will help Ukraine purchase military equipment from other countries, not just the U.S., for its own use.

The secretary of state’s announcement followed lawmakers in Washington, D.C. approving a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine. According to Blinken, the latest financial support – which includes the Congress-approved aid package and the $2 billion defense enterprise fund – is coming at a “critical time.”

“Ukraine is facing this renewed brutal Russian onslaught, and we see again senseless strikes at civilians [and] residential buildings,” he said. Blinken also acknowledged that Kyiv is in desperate need of additional support more than two years after Russia’s “special military operation.” He noted that all eyes are currently focused on the situation in the east and northeast, particularly in Kharkiv. (Related: Russia’s new invasion is targeting Ukraine’s second largest city, and that could bring us to the brink of “nuclear Armageddon.”)

The U.S. official had also emphasized during a prior meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington is working as fast as it can to get aid to Kyiv. “We’re rushing ammunition, armored vehicles, missiles [and] air defenses. [We’re] rushing them to get to the front lines to protect soldiers [and] to protect civilians,” Blinken told reporters.

Blinken: Ukraine has to make decisions for itself

Meanwhile, Kuleba stressed that every delay in supplies to the country “results in setbacks to the front line.” He also exhorted the international community to “make new announcements” regarding financial and military support for Kyiv, and “to deliver on them.”

“When a Ukrainian infantryman or artilleryman has everything that [they need], we are winning,” said the foreign minister. “Every time there are delays in supplies and insufficient supplies, we are not winning.”

Blinken stressed that while the U.S. remains a fierce ally of Ukraine and is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring it wins against Russia, Washington has not “encouraged or enabled strikes” outside of Ukrainian territory.

“Ultimately, Ukraine has to make decisions for itself about how it’s going to conduct this war – a war it’s conducting in defense of its freedom, of its sovereignty [and] of its territorial integrity. We will continue to back Ukraine with the equipment that it needs to succeed … [and] win.”

The Epoch Times contacted the U.S. Department of State for further comment on the matter. However, it did not receive a reply by press time.

Blinken’s May 15 visit to the Ukrainian capital and press conference with Kuleba came as Russian troops pushed deeper into Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine. This prompted the government to issue evacuation alerts for thousands of residents.

Kharkiv Oblast Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said Russian forces are homing in on the town of Vovchansk, located roughly three miles from the Russian border. The Sumy Oblast Military Administration meanwhile posted on Telegram that Russian forces also attacked areas in the north near the Sumy region on May 15. The communities of Khotin, Bilopillia, Krasnopillia, Velyka Pysarivka, Nova Sloboda, Esman, Shalyhyne, Druzhbivka, Seredyna-Buda and Znob-Novhorodske were targeted.

Watch this clip of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on a night out in Kyiv, ostensibly after the press conference.