During his unannounced visit to Kyiv Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with top names, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the famous bomb detection dog, Patron.
Images of Blinken holding Patron began to surface after he traveled to a children’s hospital to greet children who have been maimed during Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Patron, a 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, whose name reportedly means “ammo” has become a symbol of resilience in Ukraine’s fight against Russian occupation and helped to neutralize hundreds of Russian bombs in Ukraine.
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The terrier, along with his owner Mykhailo Iliev of the Civil Protection Service, was granted state honors by Zelenksyy in May for his help in detecting and dismantling more than 200 explosive devices at that time, according to Reuters.
Blinken was snapped cradling the beloved dog Thursday and later presenting a Patron-looking toy dog to a girl at the children’s hospital.
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The 6-year-old patient, Maryna, reportedly came to the Kyiv medial facility from the Kherson region where intense fighting has ensued for months, reported Ukrainian news outlet Pravda.
Blinken also announced a new round of support for Ukraine Thursday and said the Biden administration had approved $2.2 billion in military financing for Ukraine and 18 of its neighboring nations that have been threatened by Russia.
“Thousands of civilians killed or wounded, 13 million Ukrainian civilians forced to flee their homes, historic cities pounded to rubble, horrifying reports of ongoing atrocities, nuclear power stations put at risk, food shortages, skyrocketing food prices around the world,” Blinken listed off. “Ukraine’s extraordinary front-line defenders continue to courageously fight for their country’s freedom, and President Biden has been clear we will support the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
Zelenskyy presented Blinken with “The Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise” medal for distinguished service of the state and people of Ukraine.
The Pentagon also announced a $675 million arms package to Ukraine Thursday.