US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spent about three hours with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his senior team in the capital Kyiv.
“That was the entire focus of our visit. We wanted to focus on the work that needed to be done in looking at the game plan that we have, how we’re moving forward across all of these different lines of effort,” Blinken told reporters from an undisclosed location in Poland near the Ukrainian border.
Asked by a reporter what they had seen on their way to the capital, Blinken said they had taken a train from southwestern Poland to Kyiv.
“So we didn’t see a lot except looking out the train window. In Kyiv itself, we went right to the presidential palace.”
The US top diplomat said, “there wasn’t much of an opportunity to talk to average Ukrainians.”
We certainly saw people on the streets in Kyiv — evidence of the fact that the battle for Kyiv was won,” he said.
On the surface, there were signs of “normal life” in parts of the city, he said.
“But that’s in stark contrast to what’s going on in other parts of Ukraine, in the south and the east, where the Russian brutality is doing horrific things to people every single day,” Blinken said.
Some context: While in Kyiv, Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Zelensky, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Interior Minister Denys Monastrysky for an extended bilateral meeting, a senior State Department official said.