Ukraine’s Zelenskyy cancels all foreign trips as attacks by Russia make gains

- Kim Hjelmgaard

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy postponed a series of internatio­nal engagement­s over the coming days as Russia’s military launched what appeared to be increasing­ly successful attacks close to Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

Zelenskyy’s cancellati­on of all foreign trips, announced by his office on Wednesday, may indicate Ukraine is struggling to contain Russia’s latest military offensive, which has intensifie­d in recent days.

The decision comes days after Ukraine’s top military general, Oleksandr Syrskyi, warned fighting had “significan­tly worsened” in Kharkiv and as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the country. Blinken traveled to Ukraine for the first time since U.S. lawmakers approved a new aid package for Ukraine worth nearly $61 billion.

In a news conference alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv, Blinken announced that the U.S. would provide an additional $2 billion in military aid for Ukraine to help it invest in its industrial base.

“We’re rushing ammunition, armored vehicles, missiles, air defenses to get them to the front lines,” Blinken said. “For anyone who is tempted to bet against Ukraine − don’t. It will be a big mistake.”

Ukraine’s state emergency services said more than 7,500 people have been evacuated from the Kharkiv region as Russia pushes into the area as part of a renewed cross-border offensive.

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