President Biden pays a shock go to to Kiev simply days earlier than the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine battle
US President Joe Biden on February 16, 2023.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
US President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Kiev, Ukraine on Monday to show solidarity, almost a year after Russia began its all-out invasion of the country.
Biden said in a White House statement that he was meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to “reaffirm our unwavering and unwavering commitment to the democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
“I will announce another shipment of critical equipment including artillery ammunition, anti-tank systems and air surveillance radars to protect the Ukrainian people from air strikes,” he added. “And I’ll let you know later this week that we’ll be announcing additional sanctions against elites and corporations that seek to circumvent or augment Russia’s war machine.”
The Kremlin was informed a few hours before his departure about the US president’s trip for “conflict resolution purposes,” said White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday, without going into detail.
Zelenskyy described Biden’s visit – the first by a US president in almost 15 years – as “the most important visit in the history of Ukrainian-US relations”.
“At this time, when our country is fighting for its freedom and freedom for all Europeans, for all people of the free world, this underlines how much we have already achieved and what historic results we are achieving together with the whole world, with Ukraine can , with the United States, with all of Europe,” he said on Telegram, according to an NBC translation.
According to the Associated Press, the US head of state left the Ukrainian capital after a visit lasting more than five hours. Biden said he will continue to Poland, where he will meet his counterpart Andrzej Duda. The Polish president could push Biden for post-war “security guarantees” for Ukraine, which he described as “important” for Kiev to the Financial Times on Sunday.
Biden’s visit to Ukraine comes after a concerted demonstration of international support by global leaders and politicians during the Munich Security Conference in recent days. Allied forces have pledged financial support and arms to Ukraine, but have not responded to Zelenskyy’s requests for jet fighters.
On February 18, Biden’s second-in-command, Vice President Kamala Harris, announced that Washington had determined that Russia had committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, amending the US administration’s March statement that Moscow had committed war crimes.
The latest round of US sanctions follows the EU’s tenth round of penalties against Russia over its war in Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last week that the sanctions will target 11 billion euros ($11.78 billion) worth of exports, dual-use and advanced technology items, and Russian propagandists. The latest EU package is subject to approval by EU member countries.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed doubts to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Saturday but the financial fallout will deter Putin.
“What we have seen is that Russia is actually willing to pay a heavy price for this war,” he said.
“There is no sign that President Putin is preparing or planning peace. He’s preparing for more war or a new offensive, mobilizing more troops, disrupting the Russian economy and actually turning to other authoritarian regimes like North Korea and Iran for more weapons.”