Biden reiterates support for Kyiv in surprise visit

Published February 20th, 2023 - 10:11 GMT
Ukraine and US flags
Biden's first visit to Kyiv since the onset of Russian invasion of Ukraine

ALBAWABA - U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on a surprise visit Monday, underlining Washington's support for the war-ravaged European nation days before the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of the country.

Biden met his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy nearly shortly after landing in Kyiv.

During the bilateral meeting, Zelenskyy thanked Biden for this visit, stressing that Ukraine is proud that Biden visited the country, while the latter stressed the importance of continuing to provide support for Kyiv.

In joint remarks with Zelenskyy, Biden recalled the fears nearly a year ago that Russia’s invasion forces might quickly take city.

"One year later, Kyiv stands," Biden said, jamming his finger for emphasis on his podium decorated with the U.S. and Ukrainian flags, according to The Associated Press.

"And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands," he said. "The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you."

Media outlets reported that Biden had visited The Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine in St. Michael's Square in Kyiv. Circulating photos also showed the two presidents while they were walking near St. Michael's Cathedral.

This sudden visit by the U.S. president to Ukraine is his first visit since the Russian invasion, which coincides with its first anniversary on Feb. 24.

Previously, the White House announced that Biden would visit Poland, Ukraine's neighbor, on Tuesday and Wednesday, but made no mention to Ukraine being on his itinerary, apparently for security reasons.

Biden's promised visit to Poland is said to be carrying a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. will continue its support for Ukraine, as long as it takes. During the visit, he will discuss further support to Ukraine.

Biden is scheduled to meet in the Polish capital Warsaw on Tuesday with Polish President Andrzej Duda, while on Wednesday he will meet with the "Bucharest 9" group, which includes countries from Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Early in the day, air raid sirens sounded in Kyiv while the city center was sealed off before the arrival of an 'important visitor', whose identity was not disclosed.

U.S. has been the forefront of nations to support Ukraine, since the onset of the invasion, and the value of the military, economic and humanitarian assistance it provided or which it pledged to provide is estimated at approximately $29.3 billion.

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