The United States will support Ukraine in the fight against Russia to the extent necessary, US President Joe Biden said during an unannounced visit to Kiev.
We really believe that you will continue to win, he said.
Mr. Biden’s first visit to Ukraine as President came days before the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.
He said Russian President Vladimir Putin was wrong in believing that Russia could outlast Ukraine and its Western allies.
He met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the two visited a memorial to soldiers who died in the nine years since Russia annexed Crimea and conquered parts of eastern Donbass.
Biden’s presence is meant to reaffirm America’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, according to a White House statement.
He traveled 10 hours by train from Poland to quietly reach Kiev and then return to Poland. Russia was notified of the trip hours before President Biden left to “resolve the conflict, a US official said.
Following the visit, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced a new $450 million 373 million security assistance package to Ukraine, including ammunition for the Himars howitzer and missile system, Javelin missiles and an air surveillance radar.
The US will also provide Kiev with another $10 million in emergency aid to preserve Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Blinken said.
A new wave of sanctions against individuals and companies that try to circumvent or equip the Russian military machine will also be announced later this week.
Zelensky said Ukraine’s victory over Russia depended on determination and he saw such determination in Mr Biden.
Now the fate of the world order, which is based on order and humanity, is also being decided in Ukraine.
He also said the two leaders discussed the possibility of sending more weapons. Mr Zelensky has repeatedly requested F-16 fighter jets, something the US and other allies have so far failed to support.
Commenting on the trip, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said those who, as she put it, sold their souls to America” are doomed to failure.
In scenes that made dramatic the highest profile visit to Ukraine since the start of the war, air raid sirens sounded as Presidents Biden and Zelensky huddled inside St Michael’s Cathedral in central Kiev. Sirens regularly sound in the city.
While other leaders have visited Ukraine over the past year, the US president’s presence in Kiev amid a war in which US troops are not fighting is a sign of unity at a time when Russia says Western support for Ukraine is waning.
The visit was welcomed by Ukrainians in Kiev.
I’m very grateful for the support – it means a lot to us, Roxoliana Guerra told the News. I appreciate her courage in facing this challenge and have come to show her support for the American nation.
Alexandra Solovyova said the visit showed Russia that the United States stands with us and will continue to support us with sanctions and military equipment.
The chief of staff of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak said the visit was strategic and historic. “Many problems will be solved and the stuck ones will be accelerated,” he said.
The US is one of Ukraine’s biggest allies, and the State Department has so far announced $24.9 billion in military assistance.
In January, Biden announced the US would be sending 31 main battle tanks, and long-range missiles were also on their way.
However, there is growing political disagreement in the US over the amount of aid Kiev should receive in the future.
President Biden’s visit to Kiev precedes a three-day visit to Poland, where he will meet the country’s President Andrzej Duda and members of the Eastern European NATO military alliance.
In another development, China’s foreign minister said Beijing was deeply concerned about the escalation of the war in Ukraine and the risk of war spiraling out of control.
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