KYIV, Ukraine Days before the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, President Joe Biden made an unscheduled trip to Ukraine on Monday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a defiant show of Western sympathy with a nation still engaged in what he termed “a cruel and unfair war.”
After meeting Zelenskyy at the Mariinsky Palace, Biden remarked, “One year later, Kyiv stands.” On his podium, surrounded by the American and Ukrainian flags, he pressed his finger for emphasis and added, “And Ukraine stands. Democracy is up. The entire world stands with you, as do the Americans.
Biden spent more than five hours in the Ukrainian capital, discussing the next steps with Zelenskyy, paying tribute to the nation’s dead warriors, and meeting with representatives of the U.S. embassy there.
The visit occurs at a critical time as Biden works to maintain unity among allies in support of Ukraine as the war is anticipated to heat up with spring offensives. Zelenskyy is requesting fighter jets from the West, something Biden has rejected, and is urging allies to expedite the delivery of promised weapon equipment.
As he and Zelenskyy left the gold-domed St. Michael’s Church, air raid sirens wailed, giving the American president a taste of the dread Ukrainians have endured for nearly a year.
They continued unaffected, bearing a solemn expression, as they placed two wreaths and observed a moment of silence at the Wall of Remembrance in memory of Ukrainian soldiers who have died since 2014, the year that Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and fighting with Russian support broke out in eastern Ukraine.
The White House declined to provide further details. Still, national security adviser Jake Sullivan claimed that the White House informed Moscow of Biden’s visit to Kyiv just before he left Washington “for deconfliction purposes” to prevent any blunder that might pit the two nuclear-armed countries against one another.
In Kyiv, Biden promised an additional $500 million in U.S. aid on top of the more than $50 billion already given, including air surveillance radars, anti-tank missiles, howitzer shells, and other assistance but no brand-new, cutting-edge weapons.
Additionally, Ukraine has been lobbying for battlefield technologies enabling its forces to attack Russian locations relocated from the frontlines and no longer in the HIMARS rockets’ delivery range. Biden and Zelenskyy allegedly discussed “long-range weapons and the weapons that may still be given to Ukraine even if it was not previously supplied,” according to Zelenskyy. He did not specify any additional promises, though.
Zelenskyy remarked, “Our negotiations were quite successful.
While public opinion polling indicates that U.S. and allied support for providing weaponry and direct economic assistance has started to wane, Biden’s goal with his visit to Kyiv, which comes before a planned trip to Warsaw, Poland, is to stress that the United States is prepared to stick with Ukraine “as long as it takes” to repel Russian forces. As the anniversary draws closer, Zelenskyy believes that the symbolism of having the American president stand with him on Ukrainian soil as they urge their European and American partners to give more advanced weapons and accelerate the pace of delivery is no little thing.
In the war, Biden stated, “I thought it was crucial that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about U.S. support for Ukraine.”
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, was sarcastically rebuked by Biden’s visit; he had hoped that his army would quickly take over Kyiv within days. Democratic presidential candidate Biden said, “That terrible night one year ago, the world was literally at the time bracing for the collapse of Kyiv. I spoke with Zelenskyy on the night of the invasion. even the demise of Ukraine.”
The capital of Ukraine is still firmly under Ukrainian hands one year later. Although some semblance of normalcy has returned to the city, the frequent use of killer drones and missile attacks on military and civilian facilities throughout the nation is a near-constant reminder that the war is still in progress. In the country’s east, notably in the area around Bakhmut, where Russian offensives are in progress, the deadliest combat is currently centered.
In the last 24 hours, at least six civilians have died, and 17 more have been injured in Ukraine, according to the country’s presidential office. The Russian army deployed aircraft to attack frontline cities in the eastern Donetsk region. According to the region’s Ukrainian governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, 15 towns, and cities have been shelled in the last 24 hours. Cities close to the Russian border in the northeastern Kharkiv region came under fire. A hospital, a plant, and residential structures were damaged by a missile strike that struck Kupiansk.
The “brutal and unfair war,” as Biden put it, is far from over. “Ukraine has paid an unusually high price for this. Yet the costs have been far too high, according to Biden. “We know the days, weeks, and years ahead will be difficult. But Moscow w