US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the National Children’s Specialized Hospital Ohmatdyt in Kyiv on Thursday.
He met with children who were being treated there – including some injured in the war – as well as Patron, the mine-sniffing dog who has gained international renown.
The top US diplomat, accompanied by US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, made the visit to the hospital during an unannounced trip to Ukraine.
He was welcomed in the lobby by a large group of staff and Patron. Blinken gifted the Jack Russell terrier dog treats, quipping that “since he’s already received a number of medals and awards, I thought he’d actually prefer something a more usable,” and posed for photos in the lobby with the vest-clad pup.
“We have a long history of working on de-mining,” Blinken said. “We’re honored to be working with you on that.”
More on his visit: Blinken toured the hospital and visited with some of its patients, including a six-year-old Maryna, who lost part of her leg and has been in the hospital since May after being injured in Kherson. Blinken gave her a stuffed dog, and she also received a visit from Patron.
“I can tell that Patron likes Maryna very much,” Blinken said to the girl and her mother as he knelt by her bedside. Her mother told the top US diplomat that Maryna met actress Jessica Chastain, noting that they “loved her.”
Blinken then went to another room to meet more children who are at the hospital. He carried a basket full of toys.
Blinken took a photo and gifted a stuffed rabbit to 13-year-old Kateryna who was injured in the Kramatorsk rail station attack in early April; her mother was killed, the top US diplomat was told.
He was again accompanied by Patron and remarked, “I think he’s the most famous dog in the world.”
“We so admire the courage, the spirit of your children. It sends a very strong message all around the world,” Blinken told the room.
“And it’s an honor for me to meet you, to meet them, and to see the wonderful work that the doctors, the Minister, the Ronald McDonald House, everyone is doing. We’re just happy to be able to help and to be a friend and a partner.”