Keep 'Rockin' In Free World', Blinken, Guitar In Hand, Tries To Lift Ukrainian Spirits In Kyiv

Keep 'Rockin' In Free World', Blinken, Guitar In Hand, Tries To Lift Ukrainian Spirits In Kyiv

As Ukraine struggles to fend off the Russian Kharkiv offensive, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday took the stage at a bar in capital Kyiv to play guitar and sing Neil Young's 1989 hit "Rockin' in the Free World" with a local band.

Blinken’s two-day trip to Ukraine — his fourth since the war broke out — came "with a clear message to Ukrainians that they are not alone," as the State Department's deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel put it, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

The top U.S. diplomat assured Ukrainians that billions of dollars in American military aid on its way after months of political delays will make a "real difference" on the battlefield.

Ukraine, however, made it clear that it urgently needs two Patriot missile defense batteries as soon as possible to protect Kharkiv, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Blinken.

When asked by TURAN's correspondent whether Blinken meant to show up in Kyiv "empty handed" or it was fair to still expect an announcement of aid package from the Secretary during this trip, Patel told the daily briefing that "the trip is not concluded yet. And so I’m just not going to get ahead of the Secretary or the process here."

During a speech in Kyiv Tuesday afternoon, Blinken said that Russia was "sending wave after wave of Russian soldiers, Iranian drones, North Korean artillery, and tanks, missiles, and fighter jets built with machines and parts supplied by China."

"The coming weeks and months will demand a great deal of Ukrainians, who have already sacrificed so much," he emphasized, adding that arrival of more than a billion dollars worth of U.S. equipment announced in previous weeks would help stabilize the front:  "Some of it’s already arrived, more that will be arriving," he said, "and that’s going to make a real difference against the ongoing Russian aggression on the battlefield."

Blinken went on to add that Americans 'understand' their support for Ukraine strengthens the security of the U.S. and allies. "They understand that if Putin achieves his goals here in Ukraine, he won’t stop with Ukraine; he’ll keep going."

He added:  "For when in history has an autocrat been satisfied with carving off just part, or even all, of a single country? When has that satisfied Vladimir Putin?"

At the same time, Blinken said, the American people "want to know that we have a plan for getting to the day when Ukraine can stand strongly on its own feet – militarily, economically, democratically – so that America’s support can transition to more sustainable levels."

"The Ukrainian people want the exact same thing. They do not want to have to rely on others to guarantee their security and their prosperity."

He concluded:  "And we do have a plan, and we’re working together with Ukraine and a wide network of partners to realize it."

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