On Monday, President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, in a show of support days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion. Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who said they discussed the provision of long-range weapons for Kyiv. The U.S. President pledged an additional half-billion dollars in aid and vowed that the United States would continue to stand by Ukraine in the conflict. In a statement, Biden said, “As the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I am in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
The visit comes a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to make a major address, in which he’s expected to lay out Moscow’s objectives for the second year of what he calls a “special military operation.” At a joint press conference in Kyiv, Biden recounted the early days of the invasion and fears at the time that the invasion might spell the end of Ukraine. He said, “One year later, Kyiv stands, and Ukraine stands, and America stands with you, and the world stands with you.” In addition to the half-billion dollars in aid to Ukraine, Biden announced howitzer shells, anti-tank missiles, and air surveillance radars, but no new advanced weaponry that Kyiv has been seeking. He also said he would announce additional sanctions against Russia later in the week.
Biden’s trip to Kyiv marks his first visit to a war zone as president. He is scheduled to travel to Warsaw, Poland, which has been a major supporter of Ukraine in the conflict and which serves as a key hub for supplying weapons and other aid. In Warsaw, Biden is expected to deliver remarks on how the United States will continue to rally the world to support the people of Ukraine and the core values of human rights and dignity.