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President Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine to rally freedom fighters amid anniversary of Russian invasion

The president’s surprise visit marks the first time he has visited Ukraine Russia invaded the country one year ago

Air Force One
Air Force One | Shutterstock/Christopher Halloran

February 20, 2023 8:06am

Updated: February 21, 2023 7:33am

President Biden traveled to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, early Monday morning in an unexpected visit to meet with its leaders, just days before the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion. 

The president spoke to the people of Ukraine from the capital and met with the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky at Mariinsky Palace to pledge continued U.S. support. Biden said the U.S. would send another half-billion dollars in the form of air surveillance radars, anti-tank missiles, and shells for howitzers. The president said there would be other aid as well.

The president’s surprise visit marks the first time he has visited Ukraine Russia invaded the country one year ago. He left several hours after he arrived mid-Monday morning EST. The visit came amid expectations he would travel to Poland, but once in Europe the president took a 10-hour train ride to Kyiv.

Biden said he made the visit to see Ukraine’s president and show his support for the Ukrainian people and its “territorial integrity” and reaffirm that Russian President Vladimir Putin made a grave miscalculation when he thought he could easily invade the country.

“As the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I am in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” he said according to a statement published by The White House.

“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.”

He also said the U.S. was committed to remaining in the fight and would continue to extend its support for Ukraine.

“Today, in Kyiv, I am meeting with President Zelenskyy and his team for an extended discussion on our support for Ukraine,” he said.

“I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments. And I will share that later this week, we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine.

“Over the last year, the United States has built a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific to help defend Ukraine with unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support – and that support will endure.

The 46th president said he was also looking forward to meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda and the leaders of our Eastern Flank Allies. Poland has played an important role in the West’s support for Kyiv amid its struggle to maintain its independence and sovereignty from Moscow.

“I also look forward to traveling on to Poland to meet President Duda and the leaders of our Eastern Flank Allies, as well as deliver remarks on how the United States will continue to rally the world to support the people of Ukraine and the core values of human rights and dignity in the U.N. Charter that unite us worldwide.”

Biden left Kyiv in the early afternoon local time after about five hours in the Ukrainian capital.

Biden’s visit drew significant attention immediately upon his arrival as warning sirens alerted the local population something significant was taking place. The president’s arrival comes amid warnings from Ukrainian officials that they suspect Russia may try to deliver a knockout blow of missiles on Friday, Feb. 24, which is the anniversary of the invasion.

Russia has continued its invasion amid Western sanctions and massive casualties. Ukraine has received billions support from the West, which supports its right to independence against Russia. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also pledged $5.5 billion in aid for Ukraine during Biden’s visit with Zelenskyy.

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.