Anthony Blinken made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Tuesday to reassure Ukraine of American support amid Russia’s renewed offensive in the East and incursion in the Kharkiv region.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived on Tuesday in Kyiv on an unannounced visit to assure Ukraine of continued American support and the flow of much-needed weapons as Russia presses on with its offensive in the Kharkiv region.

Blinken arrived by overnight train from Poland and was due to meet with President Zelensky in his fourth visit to Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

His trip comes just weeks after the US Congress finally approved a $61 billion financial aid package for Ukraine after months of political wrangling, unlocking much-needed arms for the country’s stretched troops.

Blinken intends to detail how US aid will “be executed in a fashion to help shore up their defences and enable them to increasingly take back the initiative on the battlefield,” the official said.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that a new arms package would be announced “in the coming days.”

‘Intense Enemy Fire’

A surprise Russian ground offensive in the Kharkiv region forced thousands to evacuate and pushed Kyiv to mobilize reinforcements.

The Ukrainian army acknowledged that Russia was “achieving tactical success” but Zelensky stressed that Kyiv had sent reinforcements to Kharkiv and that “our counterattacks are ongoing.”

Zelensky said that Kyiv had also noted strikes and “hostile activity against (the) Sumy and Chernihiv regions” in northern Ukraine.

In the east of the country, where several areas had been subject to “intense enemy fire,” Ukrainian forces had changed their positions “to save the lives of our defenders” and were planning to regroup units, the army said late on Monday.

Ukraine’s security council chief Oleksandr Lytvynenko said that Moscow had massively upped its troop deployment for the new offensive in the Kharkiv region.

“There are a lot of Russians, quite a lot. About 50,000 were on the border. Now there are much more than 30,000 coming,” he told AFP on Monday.

However, he said, “We don’t see any threat of assault on the city of Kharkiv,” around 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the combat zone.

Bombs Falling ‘Like Rain’

An overnight strike on Kharkiv wounded two people, regional governor Oleg Synegubov said on Tuesday on Telegram.

Guided aerial bombs are falling “like rain” said one serviceman, who was resting after fending off Russian assaults in Lyptsi.

In Russia, the Defense Ministry said that air defenses had intercepted 25 Ukrainian rockets in the Belgorod region.

Elsewhere, in the Volgograd region, freight train carriages were derailed in Kotluban station due to the “intervention of unauthorised persons,” Russian news agencies said on Tuesday.

Kyiv did not claim responsibility but a Ukrainian advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, which was seized by Russia in spring 2022, called it “good news.”

Kotluban is about 300 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, and the Volgograd region is sometimes the target of drone attacks launched by the Ukrainian army.