President Joe Biden on Monday made a surprise visit to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, just days before the first anniversary of the invasion by Russia. He met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to reaffirm US support for the country and announced another $500 million aid package and a new military.
Biden’s visit comes after he met with Zelensky in Washington earlier this month. The two leaders discussed new US arms and ammunition for Ukraine and how to counter the threat from Russia’s advancing forces, according to an account of their meeting by the Ukrainian government.
The United States has provided significant aid and military supplies to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion. Still, many people have complained that the West isn’t providing enough help. Republicans have also become divided on providing more money for the conflict.
In a brief video on Zelensky’s Telegram channel, Biden walks with Zelensky outside St. Michael’s Gold-Domed Cathedral in central Kyiv. A military salute greeted the duo as they approached a memorial wall honoring Ukrainian soldiers killed in the war against Russia. The pair then laid a wreath next to each other in front of photographs of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the fighting.
Zelensky wrote in the Telegram post that the President’s visit is “a significant sign of support for all Ukrainians.” He urged his people to show him gratitude and asked Americans to help combat Russian aggression against Ukraine.
“When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak, and the West was divided, but he was dead wrong,” Biden said in his Twitter post. He also vowed to fight the Russian invasion until its end.
Biden’s visit is the first for a US president to Ukraine and marks a rare step in U.S.-Russian relations as Moscow tries to relaunch its war against the country.
The trip signifies the growing global response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which has killed thousands of troops and civilians and prompted millions of refugees to flee the country. It also indicates that the United States and Europe are ready to stand up to Russia.
He is making the trip because he believes Ukraine’s democracy and territorial integrity are in jeopardy, Zelensky said. He told Biden that he wanted to reassure the Ukrainian people that the United States would continue supporting its military for as long as it takes.
This is a huge step forward because it is the first time a US president has been in the country after the invasion by Russia, and it will be a significant test of the President’s leadership and his ability to lead the world against Russian aggression. He will meet with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda later on in the day to talk about Ukraine and Russia. Despite growing concerns over China’s involvement in the conflict, the United States and its European partners have been ramping up their support for Ukraine in the months since Russia invaded the country.
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