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US President Joe Biden in Surprise Visit to Ukraine

Biden Ukraine
President Biden meets President Zelensky in Kyiv on Monday. Credit: Ukraine Presidency

Joe Biden has arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine defying threats of Russian missile attacks, to announce significant additional US weapons supplies, as Ukraine prepares to mark the sombre anniversary of last year’s full-scale Russian invasion.

The US president, closely surrounded by a large security detail, was escorted by his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, on a walkabout around central Kyiv as air sirens could be heard, confirming rumors of a visit that had been circulating during the morning.

A statement from the White House said Biden was in Kyiv to reaffirm America’s “unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity”.

“When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the west was divided,” the statement said. “He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong.”

The White House said Biden will announce another delivery of equipment to Ukraine, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars, and that later this week he will announce additional sanctions against companies linked to Russia’s war machine.

Ukraine thanks Biden for his support

After their meeting President Zelensky spoke first, in English, thanking Americans for their support. He said that when the war started the first phone call of support he got was from the White House.

In a televised joint statement, flanked by Biden, Zelensky says that the “democratic world” has to “win this historic fight”.

“It’s the most important visit of the whole history of US-Ukraine relations,” Zelensky says, adding that it “underlines the results we have already achieved”.

“Today our negotiations were very fruitful,” Zelensky says.

He adds that the results of this visit will surely be seen and have a reflection on the battlefield. The US decision to give Abrams tanks to Ukraine earlier in January has already contributed to reinforcing Ukraine’s defense, Zelensky says, adding that he and Biden also talked about long-range weapons.

“I know there will be a very significant package of support to Ukraine… serving a clear signal that Russia’s aggression has no chance,” Zelensky says. “Ukraine is grateful to you, Mr President” he says to Biden.

President Biden spoke second. He talked about it being important that the president of the US be here on the anniversary of the war, and said it’s critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about US support.

He said the Ukrainian people have stepped up in a way that no others have in the past. “For all the disagreement we have in our Congress on some issues, there is significant agreement on support for Ukraine. It’s not just about freedom in Ukraine, it’s about democracy at large.”

This is a developing story

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