As President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed what would happen in a surprise weekend announcement, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin left D.C. for Kyiv to attend a meeting with the Ukrainian leader that took place late on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
The Hill reported that on Saturday, Zelensky made plans for the gathering publicly known, telling journalists during a briefing, “I don’t think that this is a big secret. The people from the U.S. are coming to us tomorrow.”
Bluntly declaring his preferred agenda for the discussion, Zelensky said simply, “Tomorrow we will be discussing the list of weapons which we need and the pace of its supply.”
“In recent weeks, the pace, the number has all improved. I’m grateful for that,” Zelensky said with regard to the assistance his country has been receiving in the ongoing fight against Russian aggression.
Though the White House did not offer any comment on Zelensky’s headline-making revelation, such a visit would represent a visit from the highest-ranking American officials to visit the war-torn country since hostilities began in late February.
Hinting that he would also welcome a visit from America’s commander in chief, Zelensky also stated, “We will be expecting, when the security will allow, the President of the United States to come and to talk to us,” according to the New York Post.
On Friday, Blinken held a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in D.C., something the secretary of State declared to be “further evidence that an independent, sovereign Ukraine is going to be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin.”
Amid the whirl of meetings that have taken place in the last few days, Zelensky went further to suggest that Putin agree to a face-to-face meeting with him with the aim of bringing the war to a conclusion, saying, “I think that whoever started this war will be able to end it.”
Zelensky emphasized, however, that any putative talks with Putin would be contingent on the Russian president putting a stop to further attacks on the Azovstal steelworks, where the last of the Ukrainian holdouts of Mariupol are ensconced, and based on recent reporting from the area, the siege sadly continues, potentially scuttling any hope of imminent diplomatic progress.