Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday urged Congress to fully fund the Biden administration’s proposed budget for the State Department in order to ensure that the war in Ukraine results in a “strategic failure” for Russia.
Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that his recent trip to Kyiv gave him the “indelible impression” that Ukraine is fighting off the Russian invasion — and the capital city has been successfully defended.
“It was right in front of us: the Ukrainians have won the battle for Kyiv,” he said.
Blinken — who went on a stealth diplomacy trip to Ukraine with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last weekend — said that the U.S.-led global response to Russia’s invasion had “underscored the power and purpose of American diplomacy.”
He said the $60.4 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year was needed to continue to rally partners and allies in the cause.
“We will, we have to continue to drive that diplomacy forward to seize what I believe are the strategic opportunities and address risks presented by Russia’s overreach, as countries reconsider their policies, priorities, their relationships,” Blinken said.
“The budget request before you predated this crisis, but fully funding it is critical in my judgment to ensuring Russia’s war in Ukraine is a strategic failure for the Kremlin and serves as a powerful lesson to those who might consider following its path.”
Blinken’s testimony came days after he and Austin traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and promised millions of dollars in US military aid.
Blinken and Austin told Zelensky that the US will provide more than $300 million in military financing and has approved a $165 million sale of ammunition compatible with Ukraine’s Soviet-era weapons.
Blinken also told the committee that US weapons and supplies were now making their way to the Ukrainian fighters in 72 hours.
“I think we’re largely aligned in what they say they need and what we think we’re able to provide,” Blinken said.
The White House is expected to request a long-term funding package for Ukraine assistance this week.