President Joe Biden has recently and secretly slipped out to visit Kyiv as part of an announced visit as the world closes in on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Biden had a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, walking together around St. Michael’s Cathedral as the sounds of air raid sirens could be heard all over the embattled city. Biden issued a promise of a new aid package that will include even more Howitzers and javelins while also announcing a newly proposed set of sanctions on Moscow.
“One year later, Kyiv stands,” stated Biden. “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands.”
Today, President Biden is in Kyiv to reaffirm America’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
The United States of America will stand with the Ukrainian people for as long as it takes. pic.twitter.com/1IJuCcsVJd
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 20, 2023
Biden arrived in Kyiv at roughly 8 a.m. Monday morning and his motorcade made it over to Mariinsky Palace roughly 30 minutes later.
“Thank you for coming,” stated Zelensky, greeting Biden.
This very secret visit took place just a day prior to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to deliver a new speech to highlight the one-year anniversary of the war, which has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of soldiers across both sides and has destroyed a number of Ukrainian cities.
“Putin thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided,” stated Biden to reporters. “He thought he could outlast us. I don’t think he’s thinking that right now.”
“He’s just been plain wrong,” Biden stated about Putin. “One year later, the evidence is right here in this room. We stand here together.”
Biden later stated that the visit was originally intended to highlight the support from the U.S. for Ukraine’s defense.
“I thought it was critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about US support for Ukraine in the war,” stated Biden.
A report from CNN stated that Air Force One departed from Joint Base Andrews at roughly 4:15 a.m. ET this past Sunday, and reporters who went along with the president were not allowed to take any kind of phones or tablets. Due to Ukraine being at war and the U.S. having no military presence in the area, the trip was entirely shrouded in secrecy. Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, was one of the top aides who went along with the president.
Zelensky previously visited Biden in Washington this past December and at that time reportedly issued an invite to Biden to visit Kyiv.
The war first started back on Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia kicked off a full-scale invasion. Back in November, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley issued an estimate of 100,000 soldiers had been killed across each side and as many as 40,000 civilians and also died.