US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Kyiv on Sunday, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in what would be the first visit of high-level US officials to the embattled country since the war broke out.
The potential visit, which has not been confirmed by Washington, would come on the heels of several high-profile visits from European leaders to the capital and moves to reopen evacuated embassies.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson toured parts of the capital on foot alongside Zelensky on April 9, and European Union leaders visited the previous day.
The British government is expected to re-open its embassy next week, “dependent on the security situation,” its government confirmed, following an announcement from Johnson Friday. The European Union earlier this month said it too was restoring its diplomatic presence in the capital.
“I’m heading back. Looking forward to working in Kyiv #Ukraine️ again,” UK Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons wrote on Twitter on Friday.
The shift comes after Moscow rerouted its focus away from the capital and to Ukraine’s south and east, following intense Ukrainian defense in the areas surrounding Kyiv and Russian supply issues. Kyiv had for weeks braced for an attack of Russian forces, pushing embassies to close their operations there.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, speaking at a press conference in Washington on Friday, also called on ambassadors from all countries, including the United States, to return to their embassies in Kyiv.
The White House and State Department declined to comment Saturday potential visit from top US officials Blinken and Austin. CNN has reached out to the US Department of Defense for comment.
Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that if an administration official were to visit Ukraine, the White House would not publicly disclose that information ahead of the time, citing security concerns.