US President Joe Biden arrived in the Ukrainian capital unexpectedly on Monday and met with his counterpart Volodimir Zelenski, in a show of solidarity near the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.
At a press conference with Zelensky at the Kiev presidential palace, President Biden recalled widespread fears in the West a year ago that invading Russian forces could quickly take over the Ukrainian capital.
“A year later, kyiv resists”Biden said, shaking a finger in the air while standing at a podium decorated with the US and Ukrainian flags.
“And Ukraine is on its feet. Democracy resists. The Americans are with you and the world is with you.”he added.
The visit to Ukraine comes as Biden seeks to keep allies united in his support for Ukraine, where a major Russian spring offensive is expected after ground military operations ground to a halt for the winter.
Zelensky has called on allies to speed up delivery of promised weapons systems and decide to send fighter jets as well, something Biden has refused to do.
In kyiv, Biden announced An additional $500 million in US military aid, including shells for howitzers, anti-tank missiles, and air surveillance radar, but no new advanced weaponry.
Zelensky said that he and Biden discussed “long-range weapons and the weapons that can still be supplied to Ukraine even if they have not been supplied before”, but gave no details, the AFP news agency reported.
Biden also got a firsthand taste of the fear Ukrainians have lived in for nearly a year as air-raid sirens wailed over the capital just as he and Zelensky left St. Michael’s Cathedral, which they visited together.
Biden’s visit to Kiev comes ahead of a scheduled trip to Warsaw, in neighboring Poland, where he will reiterate the message that the United States is prepared to stay with Ukraine “as long as necessary” to repel Russian forces, the House reported. White.
“I thought it was essential that there be no doubt, no doubt at all, about the United States’ support for Ukraine in the war”Biden said.
Kiev needs long-range ammunition for its artillery and tanks to face a new Russian offensive, as well as to recover the territories occupied by Moscow in the east and south of the country.
The new arms shipments promised by Biden are “an unequivocal signal” that Russia has “no chance,” Zelensky declared.
Biden recalled speaking to Zelensky on the night of the invasion, saying: “That dark night a year ago, the world was literally preparing for the fall of kyiv. Maybe even the end of Ukraine.”
A year later, the Ukrainian capital remains firmly under Ukrainian control, and a semblance of normalcy has returned to the city as fighting has concentrated in the east of the country.
Biden warned that the “brutal and unjust war” is far from won, but he was confident that the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin will not achieve its goal in Ukraine.
“The cost Ukraine has had to bear has been extraordinarily high. And the sacrifices have been too great,” Biden said.
“We know that there will be very difficult days, weeks and years ahead. But Russia’s goal was to wipe Ukraine off the map. Putin’s war of conquest is failing.”he added.