Key events

A Ukrainian drone attack derailed a freight train and sparked a fire in a diesel tank in the Volgograd region, Reuters reported citing Russian media.


Updated at 

Four people injured in Kharkiv

The governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleh Sinehubov, said in a social media post this morning that four people were injured by Russian shelling.

Antony Blinken arriving in Kyiv this morning

Here are the latest images from Ukraine, as the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, arrived for a visit.

Ukrainian Railways staff wait to greet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi station. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken works while traveling on a Ukraine Railways train to Kiev May 13, 2024, near Lviv, Ukraine. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

“I returned to Kyiv today to demonstrate our unwavering support for Ukraine as they defend their freedom against Russian aggression,” Blinken said.

I returned to Kyiv today to demonstrate our unwavering support for Ukraine as they defend their freedom against Russian aggression.

— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 14, 2024

Opening summary

Good morning, welcome to the blog. The main news this morning is the unannounced visit to Kyiv by the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken.

As Associated Press reports, the mission is designed to reassure Ukraine that it has American support as it struggles to defend itself against increasingly intense Russian attacks.

The visit comes less than a month after Congress approved a long-delayed foreign assistance package that sets aside $60bn in aid for Ukraine.

Artillery, air defence interceptors and long-range ballistic missiles have already been delivered, some of them already to the front lines, said a senior US official travelling with the secretary on an overnight train from Poland.

Blinken will “send a strong signal of reassurance” to Ukrainian leaders and civil society figures he will meet during his two-day visit, said the official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

In a statement released after Blinken‘s arrival, the State Department said he would meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other top Ukrainian officials “to discuss battlefield updates, the impact of new US security and economic assistance, long-term security and other commitments, and ongoing work to bolster Ukraine’s economic recovery”.

Delays in U.S. assistance, particularly since Israel’s war with Hamas began to preoccupy top administration officials, triggered deep concerns in Kyiv and Europe. Blinken, for example, has visited the Middle East seven times since the Gaza conflict began in October. His last trip to Kyiv was in September.

Antony Blinken works on the train while travelling to Kyiv. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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