What is the purpose of Blinken and Austin’s visit to Kiev?

Translated by Farah El Desouky

Two months after the start of the Russian war on Ukraine, and in a new U.S. attempt to prove Washington’s support and affirm its pro-Ukraine stance against Russia, In order to prevent Russia’s full victory, or the fall of the capital Kiev to Russian forces, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kiev on April 24 On the first visit of high-ranking United States officials to Kiev since the start of the war, This raises several questions about the purpose of the visit, its timing and the messages sent through it by the United States Administration.

US Messages:

Obviously, that visit was being prepared in complete secrecy. And it was not announced on the American side, which caused surprise for some, because whoever announced that visit was Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky just hours before, this meeting is the first since the start of the war between senior officials and Americans. United States Vice-President Kamala Harris last met at the Munich Security Conference on 19 February.

Although this visit was preceded by many visits by European officials at different levels but the importance of this visit stems from the fact that it is the first of its kind since the beginning of the war for senior officials within the White House. He was not expected to depart from being a confirmation of Kiev’s western support. and, in particular, the United States, as well as the recognition of greater support at different levels on the ground and directly by Washington and its European allies and to emphasize that Washington will not leave Ukraine alone in confronting Russia. In particular, the US Secretary of Defense’s visit indicates that US support was not limited to the political level. and even military, while conveying a message to the world that security conditions are on the ground in the midst of war and openly, the two United States officials were in the midst of war. And so, Austin said that “what we’ve seen confirms that things are on the way back to normal”, so Washington announced that it would return American diplomats to Kiev.

The visit also indicates the American insistence that the capital, Kiev, remains in Ukrainian sovereignty. and to ensure that they do not fall into the hands of Russian forces, no matter how long the war lasts, and that they remain unchanged for the duration of this period, Washington is clearly prolonging the war even more. to drain Russia’s military and economic capabilities, with Washington pledging more than $713 million in assistance to Ukraine in addition to collecting assistance for Ukraine from more than 15 European countries, and also ensuring the arrival of military assistance in Kyiv.

Impressive timing:

The visit came at a remarkable time after Russian relations with a number of European capitals were strained. Germany, for example, expelled a large number of Russian diplomats at the beginning of April. and Germany’s commitment to _ after earlier decline _ to send anti-aircraft tanks, in return, Russia expelled its 40 German diplomats and notified them that they had become undesirable persons. European countries importing Russian gas have previously demanded payment in Russian ruble. Russian Federation “, which was rejected by the European States, with the exception of Hungary, and which led Russia to declare the gas supply cut off from Poland and Bulgaria after they refused to pay the value of the rest of their contracts in Russian trouble, this may extend to other European capitals, especially as those facing internal challenges after fuel prices rise, Like Boris Johnson, the British prime minister facing threats of removal. elections “, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who had recently won the presidential election, but who looked forward to a victory in the forthcoming legislative elections as well.

The visit also coincided with the arrival of new shipments of U.S. weapons to the Ukrainian military, and after a wave of criticism by U.S. officials inside Congress over their failure to visit Kyiv for that period, especially after they had been preceded by senior European officials, such as the British Prime Minister, Polish President and others. Days after Biden pledged additional economic and military aid worth 1. 3 billion dollars, bringing Ukraine’s total military assistance since the beginning of the invasion to approximately 3. $4 billion. Also, after Russia announced that it had taken control of the city of Mariupol, and the transfer of Russian troops to the parties after it withdrew from Kyiv and to take control of t until now.

The visit also came days before United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Moscow and Kyiv After Blinken announced that he had notified Guterres of strong messages to Putin on the need to end the war, it is the same as Guterres called for during his visit, and Russia’s response in Ukraine was virtually a missile strike on buildings near areas where the United Nations delegation is located. This was described as a “humiliation of the United Nations” by Zelensky.

Symbolic objectives:

The visit is not expected to result in any substantial change in the war’s balance, outcome or multilateralism but it will not depart from being an additional step in the way of confirming support for Kiev in its war against Moscow by Washington, Although the visit does not carry any remarkable new US position and cannot impose any radical end or shift in the events and consequences of war, but it is a very meaningful visit, involving material and moral solidarity for Ukraine. Would prolong the war more and more so as to make sure Russian capabilities are worn out. United States arms shipments to Ukraine “. However, it will also not change the US position on direct military intervention in the war. self-asserted by the President of the United States on more than one occasion, Speaking to US President Gobaden for comment on the visit, he reiterated his pledges not to engage in direct conflict with Russia. But at the same time, he promised that the United States would provide additional weapons to the Ukrainian side. and will defend all of NATO’s territory, and have ordered that more US troops be sent to the eastern side of NATO to reassure allies sanctions “, while imposing unprecedented sanctions on the Russian side.

But, this visit will influence the course of negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv, It may lead to some reversal of what has been achieved in the previous rounds of negotiations in Turkey Russian and Ukrainian Presidents of Turkey s visit to Ankara prior to his tour between Moscow and Kyiv, As Ankara hosts negotiations between the two countries and is familiar with many war files, Guterres’ visit to Ankara to encourage the completion of negotiations may therefore be affected by the visit of the two United States Ministers to Kiev s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that his country was studying the impact of the visit on the negotiations between his country and Ukraine, He recently clarified after questioning the completion of negotiations with the Ukrainian side. Istanbul “, that nothing new is worth convening a new meeting of negotiations in Istanbul yet.

Yet another view is that developments on American intervention may precipitate another round of negotiations. If it is not held quickly in an attempt by the Russian side to pressure Ukraine, which has always tried to hold a meeting between the two Presidents s role in the next round of negotiations, whatever their date, this is, of course, without losing sight of the discussions that will take place behind the scenes in this regard.

Finally, the Foreign and Defense Ministers’ visit to Ukraine could be said to be an attempt to fend off criticism of Washington at home and abroad by failing to support Kiev. On the other hand, the continuation of the war without the fall of Kiev is in Washington’s favor. Beneficiaries of military capabilities and everything new I have in the Russian army and thus military disintegration, and ensuring the continuation of economic sanctions to restrict Putin but it is expected that the purpose of the visit will be solely within this framework, it will not amount to a radical change in the course of two months’ war.

وردة عبد الرازق

باحثة في الشئون الأوروبية و الأمريكية، حاصلة على بكالوريوس علوم سياسية، جامعة بنى سويف، الباحثة مهتمة بدارسة الشأن التركي ومتابعة لتفاعلاته الداخلية والخارجية

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