Blinken’s visit to Ukraine: Expectations and Risks

Western officials note the current situation in the battlefield is “critical”.
American and British national interests are in continuing support for Ukraine.
If the West fails to provide Ukraine with the necessary support, including sending troops, its defeat on the battle front can be assured.


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After the US Congress approved $60 billion in military aid, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a diplomatic visit to Ukraine from 13 to 14 May 2024.[1] Along with the visit, the US wanted to emphasize once again its continued support for Ukraine and its commitment to defending the country. In the midst of increasingly intense Russian attacks, Blinken’s secret visit to Ukraine was aimed, in essence, to break Russia’s psychological resistance to the war.

During the talks, the latest situation on the front was addressed, including the possible impact of the latest US security and economic assistance, other commitments and Ukraine’s economic recovery. Kiev has stressed the need for more air defence systems in its call to the West for months. The issue was raised in a recent meeting with Blinken, and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said the Patriot system was urgently needed. The US is looking for allies to supply Ukraine with additional Patriot systems. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that talks are ongoing with allies to transfer more Patriot batteries and other systems to Ukraine.

According to Blinken, long-awaited US military aid has begun to reach Ukraine.[2] During these talks, Russia continued its advances in the Kharkiv region, and more than 7,000 people were evacuated from the region. Western leaders have reacted to Russia’s new and unexpected attack on Kharkiv. British Foreign Minister David Cameron said this was a “extremely dangerous” moment in the war, and that Russia has effectively “reoccupied Ukraine”.[3]

One of the most important objectives of Blinken’s visit is to consolidate Ukraine within the Western World. The need for democratic reforms in order for the West to sustain its support for Ukraine was once again stressed by Blinken during the visit. “It is important that Ukraine continues to take difficult steps to strengthen and consolidate democracy. Because the choices you make will determine the kind of democracy you build, the strength and durability of the coalition on the Ukrainian side,” he said.[4] Washington’s primary goal here is for the government in Ukraine to remain democratic, transparent, free and open. The greatest apparent risk is that Ukraine will lose the war, collapse politically, and further expand Russian influence in the region.

The recent Russian attacks in the Kharkiv region are making Ukraine’s already exhausted forces even tougher. The war motives of the Ukrainian forces, which suffer from a shortage of ammunition on the front, are also undermined. Western officials note that the current situation in the battlefield is “critical”.

Even if new aid packages from the US, the EU and Britain are approved, conditions on the war front are expected to become more difficult in the coming months due to current delays. One of the biggest concerns is the resumption of Republican candidate Donald Trump in the US presidential election at the end of the year. Blinken’s visit to Kiev confirmed the Biden administration’s support for Europe’s security. But the Biden administration could view the “possible Trump administration” as a threat to Europe’s security in order to see European support behind it.

“Every month, the work we do together brings Ukraine closer to EU and NATO membership… As the war continues, Russia goes back in time, Ukraine goes forward,” he said.

These words can actually be seen as a political manoeuvre by the US over Europe. The US is trying to convince Europe that Ukraine will win this war. Or he wants to create such an impression. Thus, the Biden administration wants to demonstrate that continued support for Ukraine depends on the power of the Democrats. 

In the US, the expectations of the military wing may also be different. For example, a military official from the Pentagon said, “If Ukraine fails because we can’t provide them with security assistance, it will cost Europe, the US, and the world a lot more than today’s security assistance.” he said.[5]  The Pentagon is in favour of the continuation of US support for Ukraine in any way in line with its national interests. Democrats or Republicans may, at some point, agree on permanent support for Ukraine in line with the country’s national interests. In this context, the possible Trump administration may not actually be a major risk to Europe’s security. Because American interests are still closely linked to Europe’s security. Because if Russia advances in Europe, confidence in NATO will be shaken, American hegemony will weaken and eventually become unsustainable.

As a result, the expectations of the United States and Britain regarding Ukraine are progressing independently of the policies of the current governments. The United States and Britain have national interests in continuing to support Ukraine. The main risk here is the sustainability of the war. If the West fails to provide Ukraine with the necessary support, including the deployment of troops, its defeat on the battle front can be assured. Hopes of regaining Ukraine’s territorial integrity at the diplomatic table are also declining.             

[1] “Blinken makes unannounced diplomatic trip to Ukraine after Congress approves $60B in military aid”, Foxnews,, (Access Date: 15.05.2024).

[2] “May 14, 2024 – Russia’s war in Ukraine”, CNN,, (Access Date: 15.05.2024).

[3] “Blinken looks to reassure Zelensky as he visits Ukraine”, CNN,, (Access Date: 15.05.2024).

[4] Ibid.

5 “Official Says Without U.S. Funding, Ukraine’s Defense Will Likely Collapse”, Defense Gov,, (Access Date: 15.05.2024).

[5] “Official Says Without U.S. Funding, Ukraine’s Defense Will Likely Collapse”, Defense Gov,, (Access Date: 15.05.2024).

Dr. Cenk TAMER
Dr. Cenk TAMER
Dr. Cenk Tamer graduated from Sakarya University, Department of International Relations in 2014. In the same year, he started his master's degree at Gazi University, Department of Middle Eastern and African Studies. In 2016, Tamer completed his master's degree with his thesis titled "Iran's Iraq Policy after 1990", started working as a Research Assistant at ANKASAM in 2017 and was accepted to Gazi University International Relations PhD Program in the same year. Tamer, whose areas of specialization are Iran, Sects, Sufism, Mahdism, Identity Politics and Asia-Pacific and who speaks English fluently, completed his PhD education at Gazi University in 2022 with his thesis titled "Identity Construction Process and Mahdism in the Islamic Republic of Iran within the Framework of Social Constructionism Theory and Securitization Approach". He is currently working as an Asia-Pacific Specialist at ANKASAM.

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