KYIV, Ukraine — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday in a high-profile push to keep money and weapons flowing to Ukraine even as U.S. and international resources are stretched by the new global risks raised by the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Austin, who traveled to Kyiv by train from Poland, is scheduled to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Zaluzhny.
U.S. officials said Austin intended to tell Ukrainian officials that American support for efforts to defeat Russia's invasion is steadfast and will continue, even as the world's attention is drawn to the Middle East and signs of fatigue set in with the almost 21-month war.
“I'm here today to deliver an important message — the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine in their fight for freedom against Russia's aggression, both now and into the future,” Austin posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
This is Austin's second trip to Kyiv, but he's making it under far different circumstances. His first visit occurred in April 2022, just two months after Russia's large-scale invasion. At the time, Ukraine was riding a wave of global rage at Moscow's invasion, and Austin launched an international effort that now sees 50 countries meet monthly to coordinate on what weapons, training and other support could be pushed to Kyiv.
But the conflict…