Biden visits Ukraine on war anniversary, declares ‘Kyiv stands’

On Monday, President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Ukraine, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a show of support, just a few days prior to the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the country.

At Mariinsky Palace, in the company of Zelenskyy, Biden reflected on the fear of the rapid occupation of the Ukrainian capital by Russian troops almost a year ago. Biden emphasized that “Kyiv stands” a year later, punctuating his point by jabbing his finger on the podium, decorated with both American and Ukrainian flags. He affirmed the United States’ support and solidarity with Ukraine, stating that “Democracy stands,” and that both “Ukraine stands” and “the world stands with you.”

Biden’s visit to Ukraine occurs at a critical juncture in the war, as he aims to maintain unified support from allies for Ukraine amidst expected intensification with both sides preparing for spring offensives. Zelenskyy is urging allies to expedite the delivery of promised weapon systems and is requesting fighter jets to be provided to Ukraine by the West, a request that Biden has thus far rejected.

During his visit to Kyiv, Biden declared an additional $500 million in U.S. aid, in addition to the already-provided $50 billion, which includes items such as shells for howitzers, anti-tank missiles, and air surveillance radars. However, there was no mention of the provision of new advanced weaponry.

Zelenskyy mentioned that he and Biden had discussed “long range weapons” and the potential supply of weapons to Ukraine that had not been previously provided, although he did not provide any specifics regarding any new pledges made during the meeting.