U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Kyiv on Monday for an unannounced visit in a gesture of "unwavering" support as questions swirled over the sustainability of vital Western assistance as the war with Russia drags on, Reuters reports.
Austin, accompanied by the commander of the U.S. European Command, was shown next to a train shaking hands with the U.S. ambassador to Kyiv in a photograph published by the embassy.
"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 wrote on social media platform X.
U.S. ambassador to Kyiv Bridget Brink said the visit signalled Washington's "unwavering support to Ukraine in its fight for freedom".
Austin met Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and said the United States would continue to support Ukraine.
"The United States and our allies and partners will continue to work to get Ukraine the capabilities that it needs to be successful," he added.
But the trip comes amid increasing division over aid for Ukraine in the U.S. legislature, with a U.S. presidential election in November next year.