Biden makes surprise Ukraine visit, signaling strong US support in fight against Russia

President Joe Biden on Monday made an unannounced visit to war-torn Ukraine, arriving in Kyiv as the United States signals its ongoing support ahead of the anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Biden’s visit comes ahead of a planned meeting with NATO allies in Poland. He’s scheduled on Tuesday evening to give a speech at the Royal Castle Arcades in Warsaw to mark the 1-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

His remarks in Poland are expected to offer an appraisal of international support during the first year of the war, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement earlier this month. He’ll also address “how we will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes,” she said.

Biden’s also plans to meet in Poland with leaders of the Bucharest Nine, a group of eastern NATO allies formed in 2015 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Ukrainian officials had accused Russia of planning “large-scale nuclear exercises” to coincide with Biden’s European visit.

Biden’s surprise visit comes two months after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s December address to Congress in Washington. That marked Zelenskyy’s first known international trip since the invasion began in February 2022.

The Ukrainian leader had sought further U.S. aid for the fight against Russia, telling lawmakers that they could “speed up our victory.”

“Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way,” Zelesnkyy said at the time.

Biden in January approved additional military aid to Ukraine, including sending 31 Abrams tanks. Those weapons would help Ukraine “achieve its strategic objectives,” Biden said.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House speaker had led a group of U.S. lawmakers on a similarly unannounced visit to Kyiv, the capital, in May 2022.

“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” she said in a statement at the time.

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