US President Joe Biden on February 16, 2023.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev, Ukraine on Monday in a show of solidarity, nearly a year after Russia began its full-scale invasion of the country.
Biden said so in a statement from the White House that he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to “reaffirm our steadfast and unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-tank systems and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardment,” he added. “And I will share that later this week we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that seek to evade or fuel Russia’s war machine.”
Zelenskyy described Biden’s visit – the first by a US president in nearly 15 years – as “the most important visit in the history of Ukrainian-American relations.”
“At this time, when our country is fighting for its freedom and freedom for all Europeans, for all people in the free world, it emphasizes how much we have already achieved and what historic results we can achieve together with the whole world, with Ukraine, with the USA, with all of Europe, he said on Telegramaccording to an NBC translation.
The US head of state left the Ukrainian capital after a more than five-hour visit, according to Unbiased Press. Biden said he will continue to Poland where he will meet his counterpart Andrzej Duda. The Polish president was able to press Biden on the post-war “security guarantees” for Ukraine, which he on Sunday told the Financial Times would be “important” for Kiev.
Biden’s visit to Ukraine comes after a concerted show of international support from global leaders and politicians at the Munich Security Conference in recent days. Allied forces have promised financial aid and weapons to Ukraine, but have not fulfilled Zelenskyy’s pleas for the delivery of fighter jets.
On February 18, Biden’s second-in-command, Vice President Kamala Harris, announced that Washington had determined that Russia had committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, upgrading the US administration’s statement in March that Moscow had committed war crimes.
The latest round of US sanctions will follow the EU’s 10th round of sanctions against Russia for its war in Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last week that the sanctions would target 11 billion euros ($11.78 billion) worth of exports, dual-use and high-tech goods, as well as Russian propagandists. The latest EU package is subject to approval by EU member states.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Saturday expressed doubt to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble that economic repercussions will deter Putin.
“What we have seen is that Russia is actually willing to pay a heavy price for this war.” he said.
“There is no sign that President Putin is preparing or planning for peace. He is preparing for more war, or new offensive, mobilizing more troops, putting the Russian economy on a war footing and also actually reaching out to other authoritarian regimes like North Korea and Iran to get more weapons.”