Biden’s surprise Kyiv visit ahead of Ukraine war anniversary
US President Joe Biden made a surprise trip to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Monday, promising increased arms deliveries for the war-torn nation and persistent support ahead of the first anniversary of the brutal conflict on February 24.
Biden’s first trip to Ukraine since the invasion was kept a secret because of security concerns. It came as he travelled to neighbouring Poland to meet President Andrzej Duda.
According to the New York Times, the trip was made via train from the border of Poland. A number of reports even suggested that the president departed the US without notice after he and his wife had a rare dinner out at a restaurant on Saturday.
Officials had repeatedly denied that Biden would visit Kyiv during his scheduled trip to eastern Europe. Although his trip to the war-torn nation was kept a secret, several streets in Kyiv were closed this morning fuelling speculation that an important guest was arriving.
The president is due to begin a three-day visit to Poland later today. He is expected to speak in Warsaw on Tuesday to hail NATO’s effort to help Ukrainians. Russian President Vladimir Putin is also expected to give his own speech in Moscow on the same day.
Today, February 20, is an important day for the people of Ukraine as it marks the Day of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes. “On this day, we are trying to remember all the defenders of Ukrainian liberty in 2014,” BBC News quoted lawyer Roksoliana Gera.
In his speech alongside Zelensky, Biden commended Ukraine’s courage, adding “I knew I would be back” in relation to his previous six visits to Kyiv while he served as vice president.
He has pledged an additional $500 million worth of weapons to Ukraine. While there are no specifics on the detail, there was no mention of Western jets, perhaps unsurprisingly. To date, the US has committed $30 billion in security assistance to the war-ravaged nation and the unwavering support does not appear to be ending anytime soon.