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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Yellen visits Kyiv, reaffirming US support for Ukraine

The Navi-Star, a cargo ship expected to deliver grain, docked alongside grain silos at the Port of Odesa, in Ukraine, July 29, 2022.

By Marc Santora and Alan Rappeport

One week after President Joe Biden visited Kyiv to reaffirm enduring support against the Russian invasion, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited the Ukrainian capital Monday to emphasize the United States’ commitment to providing the money Ukraine needs to operate its government as the war enters a second year.

The trip — during which Yellen announced the transfer of $1.25 billion in economic and budget assistance to Ukraine — is part of a concerted diplomatic push by the Biden administration to show support for Ukraine while maintaining pressure on Russia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit two former Soviet republics this week and is expected to urge them to maintain their distance from Russia as well as China.

U.S. officials are closely watching the relationship between Moscow and Beijing, which the Biden administration has warned is considering sending lethal military assistance to Russia. China this week will host a state visit from the president of Belarus, a key Kremlin ally.

Here are other developments:

— Yellen, who arrived in Kyiv as air raid sirens rang out overnight, stayed in the capital for roughly 12 hours. She met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, attended a wreath-laying ceremony and visited a school that was rebuilt with U.S. aid money.

— The visit came amid an intensifying public debate in the United States over whether the country can afford to continue to provide billions of dollars to Kyiv. Zelenskyy thanked the United States for “powerfully supporting” Ukraine since the invasion began, not just with weapons but with financial aid. “We really appreciate it,” he said after meeting with Yellen.

— Ukraine’s military said early Monday that Russia had launched 14 Iranian-made attack drones at targets across the country overnight. The strikes left at least two people dead in the western city of Khmelnytskyi, according to local officials. Eleven of the 14 drones were shot down by air defenses, Ukrainian officials said.

— China’s Foreign Ministry said the United States was being “hypocritical” with its warnings against sending weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Sunday that Western allies were sending a “clear message” to China that it would be a mistake to give Russia weapons because they would be used to attack civilians.

— Blinken was traveling Monday to Central Asia, where he will visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan before heading to India for a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 nations. It is unclear whether Russia and China will send top diplomats to the G-20 meeting, and, if so, whether they and Blinken will meet.

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