Photos with the tweets showed large green containers being unloaded at an airport. The embassy did not elaborate, or indicate what else was included, but said it was a first shipment of “assistance recently directed by” President Joe Biden. The announcement was made at the end of an anxious week in which an assault on Ukraine by Russia seemed more likely.
A meeting in Geneva led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov didn’t yield an agreement, though both sides agreed to continue talks. “If Russia wants to begin to convince the world that it has no aggressive intent toward Ukraine, a very good place to start would be de-escalating,” Blinken said Friday at the end of a three-day European trip.
Russia has assembled a large armed force on its border with Ukraine and sent troops and armour to Belarus, to Ukraine’s north, for joint military drills scheduled to begin Feburay 10. Putin has demanded security guarantees that would prevent Ukraine from ever joining the Nato and require the alliance to roll back its forces to positions they held in 1997, before Central and Eastern European nations joined Nato.
The US and its Nato allies have rejected those demands. Putin has said he has no plans to invade Ukraine.
With tens of thousands of Russian troops positioned near Ukraine, the Kremlin has kept the US and its allies guessing about its next moves in the worst security crisis to emerge between Moscow and the West since the Cold War. Amid fears of an imminent attack on Ukraine, Russia has further upped the ante by announcing more military drills in the region. It also has refused to rule out the possibility of military deployments to the Caribbean, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has reached out to leaders opposed to the West.