US President Joe Biden on Monday made a surprise visit to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. His visit came ahead of the first anniversary of the Russian invasion – it was on February 24 last year that Vladimir Putin launched “special military operations” in Ukraine. In a statement, Biden said he is in Kyiv to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and reaffirm his “unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity”. Zelensky hailed Biden’s surprise visit as a key sign of support nearly one year after Russia invaded. “Joseph Biden, welcome to Kyiv! Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians,” Zelensky was quoted by AFP.
Uniformed Ukrainian military officers lined the street as the two leaders laid a wreath at the Wall of Remembrance for the fallen heroes of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Biden promised increased arms deliveries for Ukraine and vowed Washington’s “unflagging commitment” in defending Ukraine’s territorial integrity. “We will announce $500 million in aid to Ukraine. This will consist of javelins, howitzers, and artillery ammunition. Later, we will announce additional sanctions against companies which are trying to back Russia,” Biden said in Kyiv.
In a series of tweets, Biden further underlined: “As we approach the anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I’m in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
He also used the opportunity to attack Putin. “When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong.”
“Over the last year, the United States has built a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific to help defend Ukraine with unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support – and that support will endure.”
Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko in a tweet welcomed Biden: “Yes, confirmed @POTUSin #Kyiv. Welcome Mr. President! Looking forward to the announcements following the air raid sirens experience (sic).”
Biden will arrive in Warsaw on Tuesday where he will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda, the White House said in a statement on Sunday.
He has insisted the US will continue to back Ukraine for “as long as it takes”. The Biden administration has provided some USD 30 billion in security aid since Putin sent Russian forces into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, initiating the largest ground war in Europe since World War II – one that already has cost his country and Ukraine hundreds of thousands of casualties.
Source- Hindustan Times.