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US security adviser visits Ukraine, assures ‘no wavering of support’


Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser for the United States, unexpectedly paid a visit to Kyiv on Friday as Iran’s involvement in the Russian invasion has grown.

According to National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson, Sullivan met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his chief of staff Andriy Yermak while making his first trip to Ukraine since the war started eight months ago.

Sullivan shared details about a new US security assistance package announced Friday, and “affirmed the continued provision of economic and humanitarian assistance, as well as ongoing efforts with partners to hold Russia accountable for its aggression,” Watson said. 

Refurbished T-72 tanks from the Soviet era, HAWK air defence missiles, and additional “Phoenix Ghost” drones that have been used against Russian forces in the east are all included in the $400 million package US is offering Kyiv. Since Russia’s invasion, the US has provided Ukraine with security assistance totalling more than $18.2 billion.

“There will be no wavering, no flagging, no flinching of our support — as we go forward,” Sullivan told reporters in Ukraine. 

Yermak said Ukraine on Friday “received confirmation of unwavering support for our victory: Our friends and partners are with us, they fully understand our situation.”

Zelenskiy met with Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, both members of the Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday. Zelenskiy has urged allies to provide more advanced weapons and air defence systems.

US officials have urged Tehran to halt providing drones to Russia due to their growing concern over Iran’s involvement.

“The evidence that Iran is helping Russia wage its war against Ukraine is clear and it is public,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, said last week. 

To attack Ukrainian infrastructure, including power supplies, Russia has been using drones from Iran.

The G-7 nations have decided to formally coordinate aid in repairing, restoring, and safeguarding Ukraine’s water and energy infrastructure.

Tensions with Washington have increased as a result of Iran’s repressive measures against the protests that have engulfed the nation for more than a month since Mahsa Amini passed away while in police custody. 

President Joe Biden said Thursday night that Iran would soon be “free,” but didn’t explain what he meant during an event in California. 

As Biden was discussing his administration’s efforts to improve veterans’ care, he paused and said, “Don’t worry, we’re going to free Iran.” He quickly added: “They’re going to free themselves pretty soon.”

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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