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Why Blinken’s Surprise Visit to Ukraine is Bad Omen for Zelensky

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a signing ceremony for the US-Australia Technology Safeguards Agreement at the State Department in Washington, DC, October 26, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made a surprise visit to Kiev just as the Ukrainian armed forces are on the retreat in Kharkov and Donetsk. What’s really behind Blinken’s Ukraine trip?US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kiev on May 14, just days ahead of Volodymyr Zelensky’s draconian mobilization law coming into force.Despite the approval of a $60 billion aid package for Ukraine by the US Congress, the nation’s armed forces are grappling with severe manpower shortages, exhaustion and grim morale amid continuous retreats.”Western media report that Blinken will send a strong signal of confidence to Kiev. In my opinion, on the contrary, such a hasty unannounced visit to Ukraine in the current conditions should rather raise alarm bells,” Alexander Dudchak, a leading researcher at the Institute of CIS Countries and the Other Ukraine movement expert, told Sputnik.According to Dudchak, Blinken has come to Kiev to evaluate the situation on the ground and offer new tougher conditions to Zelensky amid Ukraine’s failures on the battlefield.One of those conditions will be to speed up mobilization and throw more Ukrainians into the conflict’s meat grinder, the expert said.MilitaryUkraine Crisis Highlights Chasm Between Russian, US Electronic Warfare Capabilities, General Admits12:57 GMTThe expert drew attention to the fact that only a part of the hefty aid package will go directly to Kiev. Of the $60 billion in assistance, $23 billion will be spent on replenishing Pentagon stocks exhausted during Washington’s proxy war in Ukraine, $14 billion will be used to purchase weapons for Ukraine, the rest is for military training and economic assistance.Influential US think tank Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) specified that of the $175 billion total approved by Congress since February 2022, only $107 billion has been spent on Ukraine, while most of the remainder funds various US activities related to the conflict.Dudchak pointed out that the money spent on Ukraine could hardly be called “assistance”: the US is delivering weapons to the Kiev regime, pressing it to send as many conscripts to the front as possible.MilitaryBig Five US Arms Makers Profit From Ukraine Conflict and Overcharge Pentagon27 April, 15:02 GMTFor US politicians and industrial giants the Ukraine proxy war is also a lucrative business, continued the expert. Arms makers are profiteering from the hostilities and using part of the money for lobbying in Washington.US policy-makers have pressed European NATO allies to send their existing military stocks to the Kiev regime and buy replacements from US military industrial complex.”There is a very powerful economic component here,” he said. “Corporations and the US military-industrial complex must make stable profits, and they need guarantees that this process will continue for a long time.”Dudchak does not discount the possibility that US politicians are also cashing in from corruption schemes related to the Ukraine military effort.”We can judge by the activities of the Biden family, starting from the time of the coup in Ukraine,” the expert noted, referring to the ongoing congressional investigation into US President Joe Biden’s family influence-peddling schemes.”So those who are not involved [in these corruption schemes] are not happy about it. Those who are involved say that everything is fine there,” Dudchak said. “On multiple occasions we heard statements [from US politicians] that everything had been checked and the funds were used properly.”WorldZelensky Assassination Plot: Smokescreen to Divert Public Attention or Internal Strife?8 May, 19:11 GMT

Has Zelensky Outlived His Usefulness?

Blinken’s surprise visit also coincided with the expiration of Zelensky’s presidential term. Under the Ukrainian Constitution, the president’s tenure is limited to five years and could be extended only through legitimate nation-wide elections.Despite calls from Washington and Brussels, Zelensky refused to hold elections this year, using the pretext of martial law in Ukraine. His tenure is due to expire on May 20.According to Dudchak, Zelensky’s opponents could use the factor of his fragile legitimacy. It is possible that the Ukrainian leader’s future and the composition of a hypothetical new Kiev government could be on the table during Blinken’s visit too.

"In general, his legitimacy is determined by the West," Sputnik's pundit remarked. "Nonetheless, this situation poses a threat to [Zelensky] personally, because he is of no value for the West, so his replacement is possible, and he understands this very well."

Despite Zelensky’s effort to prove his loyalty to Washington, US policy-makers appear to be seeking alternatives for him and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal, the expert continued. He alleged that the Biden administration wants to replace Shmygal with Oksana Markarova, the current Ukrainian ambassador to the US.The researcher pointed out that Anglo-American competition over Ukraine adds to the ongoing controversy.The Ukrainian presidential office is currently controlled by British intelligence services, but Washington wants to put its own protégé at the helm of the Ukrainian state, Dudchak concluded.WorldUS Ramps Up Search for Alternative to Ukraine’s Zelensky – Russian Intel Service6 May, 08:44 GMT

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