Biden surprises Ukraine visit, pledges $500 million more

President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday to mark a major day of support before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying he and the US president had discussed providing long-range weapons to Kiev amid Ukraine’s repeated urgent appeals for more military aid. rice field.

The US president pledged an additional $500 million in aid and vowed that the US would continue to support Ukraine in the conflict.

“As the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine, I met with President Zelensky in Kiev today to reiterate our unwavering and unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Biden said. I will confirm,” he said. said in a statement.

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President Joe Biden (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) attend a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, February 20, 2023. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Biden’s visit comes a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to deliver an important speech in which he presents his second-year Moscow goals in what he calls a “special military operation.” It is expected that

Putin has long argued that Russia’s actions were a sort of self-defense preemptive strike to neutralize the growing military threat posed by Ukraine.

The Kremlin claims that Western powers led by the US are trying to establish a NATO bulwark on Russia’s borders.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzia a few days ago accused the West of abandoning the Russian-Ukrainian peace framework known as the Minsk Accords.

“The Minsk process was just a smokescreen to rearm the Kiev regime and prepare for war with Russia in the name of geopolitical interests,” Nebenzia said. said in a statement.

“Ukrainian stand”

At a joint press conference in Kiev, Biden spoke of the early days of the invasion and the fears at the time that it could mean the end of Ukraine.

“In a year, Kiev will stand up, Ukraine will stand up,” Biden said. “And America will stand with you, and the world will stand with you.”

“This is Europe’s biggest land war in three-quarters of a century, and you’re succeeding against all expectations except yourself,” Biden said, adding, “I’m sure you’ll keep winning.” ing. “

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President Joe Biden (CL) meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (CR) in front of St. Michael’s Golden Dome Cathedral as he arrives for his visit to Kiev, Ukraine, February 20, 2023. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Biden announced $500 million in aid to Ukraine, along with howitzer shells, anti-tank missiles and airborne surveillance radars, but said there were no new advanced weapons that Kiev was seeking.

Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly asked Western countries for fighter planes. On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference a few days ago, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleva repeated his appeal against the jet.

Western powers are reluctant to send fighters to conflict areas, escalating across national borders to NATO allies, and the alliance’s ruling that an attack on one country is considered an attack on all. I fear that it may trigger the provision of Article 5.

At a joint press conference, Zelensky said he had spoken with Biden about “long-range weapons and weapons that weren’t in supply before but may still be in supply,” but didn’t elaborate. did not touch.

Biden also said he would announce additional sanctions against Russia later this week.

Epoch Times photo
President Joe Biden (R) walks next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) as he arrives to visit Kiev, Ukraine, February 20, 2023. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Biden to Poland

The US president’s surprise visit to Kiev comes ahead of a scheduled visit to Warsaw, Poland, which has been Ukraine’s main supporter in the conflict and serves as a major hub for arms and other aid.

“I also look forward to traveling to Poland to meet with President Duda and the leaders of the Eastern Allies to speak out on how the United States continues to bring the world together to support the Ukrainian people and Ukraine’s core values. Human rights and dignity,” Biden said.

Biden’s visit to Kiev was preceded by speculation about whether the US president would visit Ukraine on Russia’s Invasion Day.

The White House reiterated that there were no travel plans, but analysts said information about such plans would have been kept under lock and key due to security concerns.

Reporters on Friday asked White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby if Biden might visit destinations other than Poland.

“Now we’re going to Warsaw,” Kirby said at the time.

Biden’s visit to Kiev marks his first visit to a conflict zone as president.