Delivery of US weapons to Ukraine helping stabilize frontline, Blinken says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a news conference in Washington

By Humeyra Pamuk

CHISINAU (Reuters) - The delivery of U.S. weapons to Ukraine is helping stabilize the frontline of the battlefield, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, adding that Washington was working hard to deliver more air defenses to Ukraine.

Blinken, speaking at a press conference in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, said support for Ukraine tells Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly that he cannot outlast Ukraine.

The top U.S. diplomat landed in Chisinau earlier on Wednesday, the first stop on a brief European tour aimed at solidifying Western support for Ukraine across NATO allies and neighboring countries.

Ukraine has been trying to fend off intensifying Russian attacks in the east and President Vladimir Putin has warned that allowing Kyiv to use Western weapons to strike inside Russia could trigger a global conflict.

Blinken said Russia took advantage of the delay in the passing of $61 billion U.S. weapons package for Ukraine but said the arms were now finding their way onto the battlefield and making a difference.

"We're seeing that have real effects, including stabilizing the front," he said.

During the press conference with Moldovan President Maia Sandu, Blinken praised what he said was the country's extraordinary resilience despite "bullying" from Russia, efforts to spread disinformation and weaponizing corruption

"What's so powerful here is the deep, deep-rooted commitment to democracy ... And this in the face of bullying from Russia, interference, efforts to spread misinformation, disinformation, weaponizing corruption, manufacturing anti-government protests," he said.

"Despite that, we've seen extraordinary resilience from Moldova's leadership, and especially from its people."

He said President Joe Biden's administration was working with the U.S. Congress to provide an additional $50 million to Moldova to advance efforts he said will help the country resist Russian interference, including through reforms to the energy and agricultural sectors and pushing back further against disinformation.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Chisinau; Writing by Daphne Psaledakis and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Matthew Lewis)