‘The Americans Stand with You’

President Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine unexpectedly before the anniversary of the Russian invasion. According to the United States, Moscow was informed shortly beforehand.

Joe Biden visited the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Monday as a complete surprise and under the strictest security precautions. At Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s side before their private conversation, Biden said, “The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.” By visiting Kyiv, Biden sought to dispel any concerns that the United States might reduce its support for Ukraine and for its “democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.” Zelenskyy was grateful for the “visit in this most difficult period for Ukraine,” and said that the conversation between the two of them “brings us closer to the victory.”

Biden made a symbolic and significant gesture of solidarity with Ukraine with the visit, doing so shortly before the first anniversary of the beginning of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. According to Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Russia was informed of Biden’s visit some hours beforehand. The trip was especially risky because the commander in chief was not just visiting an active war zone. Unlike previous situations in Iraq or Afghanistan, the United States does not have military control in Ukraine, and that is why Sullivan called the visit “historic and unprecedented.”

Biden Brought a Promise of Further Military Equipment

In Kyiv, Biden promised another aid package for Kyiv amounting to a half billion dollars. The aid includes military equipment such as howitzers, artillery ammunition as well as more anti-tank Javelin missiles. Radar equipment for aerial surveillance will help protect the Ukrainian civilian population from Russian missile and drone attacks. The 80-year-old U.S. president also announced additional sanctions on Russia to be imposed this week. The EU also intends to pass its 10th package of punitive measures by the anniversary on Friday, and EU foreign ministers were discussing the details in Brussels on Monday.

Biden praised Ukraine for its “more than heroic” resistance against Russian aggression and said with regard to the Russian president, “When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong.” The U.S. president spoke of “very difficult days and weeks and years” ahead. However, Biden said he plans to do everything he can to hold the coalition of support together and provide more supplies.

There was speculation that Biden would pledge F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, but that promise has apparently not been confirmed. At the Munich Security Conference, in addition to Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states, multiple high-ranking American politicians also demanded shipment of the fighter jets. Moreover, the American press is reporting that four-star Gen. and Supreme Allied Commander Europe Christopher Cavoli told a congressional delegation in Munich that Western fighter jets as well as long-range cruise missiles would help Ukraine start its own offensives and fend off Russian attacks. Like Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Biden has so far refused to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

Standing with President Biden, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said the two had talked about both “long-range weapons” and “the weapons that may still be supplied to Ukraine, even though it wasn’t supplied before.” However, he did not identify any firm promise.

Biden briefly visited the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv before his delegation left the Ukrainian capital early in the afternoon. The president continued by land to Poland where he delivered remarks early Tuesday evening outside the Warsaw Royal Castle. Russian President Putin was planning a major appearance in Moscow the same day.

Top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi is also expected soon in the Russian capital. Yi announced a Chinese peace initiative in Munich this weekend; however, he did not provide any details. Beijing intends to make up for this on Friday. Yi is traveling from Budapest where he announced China’s wish to work with Hungary on a peace resolution for the Ukraine war. By Sunday evening, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had been invited to a “private dinner.” Hungary supports the EU sanctions against Russia, but it is considered to have the greatest sympathies for China and Russia among EU and NATO members.

Orbán is nevertheless one of the heads of state of nine NATO members from Eastern and Central Europe that Biden is visiting in Warsaw on Wednesday before he returns to the United States. Biden is likely to assure them that the United States will protect and defend them against any Russian aggression. In Poland, Biden’s visit to Kyiv was valued as an affirmation of U.S. engagement for Ukraine and as a symbol of faith in its victory. The federal government in Berlin spoke of a “good signal.”

About this publication

About Michael Stehle 102 Articles
I am a graduate of the University of Maryland with a BA in Linguistics and Germanic Studies. I have a love for language and I find translation to be both an engaging activity as well as an important process for connecting the world.

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