Kyiv: In a major development, air raid sirens blared across the Ukrainian capital after US President Joe Biden reached the war-embattled nation on Monday, February 20. Notably, this is the first visit of the US President to Ukraine ever since the war escalated earlier last year. The surprise visit comes days ahead when the country marks one year since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. "One year later Kyiv stands, Ukraine stands, and Democracy stands. America and the world stand with you. Kyiv has captured a part of my heart," said Biden during a presser.
In a series of tweets, President Biden said, "As we approach the anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I'm in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity."
Further, in a subsequent post, Biden lambasted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and said Moscow had underestimated Ukraine and added he must have thought that it would not sustain his brutal attack.
"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," said Biden.
Zelenskyy welcomes his US counterpart
Later, he noted that the United States will defend the sovereignty of the war-torn nation and added his administration has built a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific in order to empower Kyiv. "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," he said. Taking to Instagram, Zelenskyy welcomed his US counterpart and wrote, "Joseph Biden, welcome to Kyiv! Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians."
Biden assures Zelenskyy to pour maximum support
While addressing a conference in Kyiv, President Biden recalled the day on which his Ukranian counterpart called him seeking an immediate supply of lethal weapons. "President Zelenskyy had called me barely minutes after Putin launched an unprecedented war against his country. He had urged me to supply the most advanced weapons to defend his nation," Biden said. "I assured him to provide all my support to Ukraine. Besides, I also assured him that our other European allies will help Zelenskyy at the testing time," he added.
During the presser, President Biden underscored that Ukraine was weak at the time when Moscow raided, however, he noted that Zelenskyy marched his country in a very strong way. Further, Biden said Russia is now facing an unprecedented economic crisis as hundreds of multinational companies were either left the country or imposed restrictions.
"Putin's war conquest is failing. Russia's military has lost half its territory once occupied. Young, talented Russians fleeing from Russia because they see no future in the country. Russia's economy is isolated and struggling," said Biden.
"We will announce $500 million in aid to Ukraine. This will consist of javelins, howitzers, and artillery ammunition. Later, we will announce additional sanctions against companies which are trying to back Russia," he added.
First visit of US President
It is worth mentioning that the much-awaited visit came nearly a month after the war-embattled President visited Pentagon, where he urged the Biden administration to pour maximum support to defend his country from Russian attacks.
Earlier last year, Biden had travelled to Ukraine's immediate neighbour, Poland, but refrained from visiting the war-torn nation amid security concerns.