US President Joe Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine, pledges $500M in aid to support Zelensky.
US President Joe Biden made an unexpected visit to Ukraine on Monday, in a bold show of support for the country’s efforts to fend off Russian aggression. As air raid sirens blared across the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, Biden’s presence signaled a boost for President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government, which has been grappling with the challenge of an ongoing conflict with Russia that began almost a year ago.
As soon as he arrived, Biden affirmed that the United States is committed to supporting Ukraine and pledged $500 million in additional military aid. In a tweet, he stated, “Over the past 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 added that the aid package would include equipment such as anti-armor systems, artillery ammunition, and aerial surveillance radars to help Ukrainian troops defend their borders.
Biden’s trip to Kiev fell on the anniversary of the death of more than 100 people in 2014, known as the Celestial Hundred, in anti-government protests that ultimately led to the toppling of a Moscow-backed president. In his speech, Biden praised Ukraine’s bravery and determination during the ongoing conflict with Russia, noting that he had visited Kiev six times during his tenure as Vice President.
He added that he knew Ukraine would persevere despite the Russian invasion, and expressed his confidence that the country would ultimately prevail over its aggressor. Biden’s visit marked the first time since the start of the Russian invasion that a US President has traveled to Ukraine, and it was received as a powerful display of support for the country.
The timing of Biden’s visit was significant, as it came a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to deliver a speech that is expected to outline the objectives for the second year of the invasion he launched on February 24, 2022. One year on, Ukraine is still preparing for what it hopes will be a major new Russian offensive, with many military analysts believing that the conflict is already underway.
The United States has been the largest provider of military aid to Ukraine, with almost $50 billion worth of equipment and support previously offered. Biden’s additional pledge of $500 million further underscores the United States’ commitment to the Ukrainian cause, and signals that the country’s efforts to repel Russian aggression will continue to receive significant support.
Biden’s visit also marked a significant show of support for Zelensky’s government, which has been struggling to keep the conflict under control. The additional military aid will be a major boost for Ukrainian troops, who have been fighting a determined Russian force that has shown no signs of backing down. The United States’ continued support will be essential in ensuring that Ukraine is able to maintain its independence and sovereignty.
The visit was met with positive responses from Ukrainian officials, with President Zelensky stating that it was an “extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians.” The Ukrainian people have been enduring a difficult period in their country’s history, with the ongoing conflict taking a heavy toll on both the economy and the populace. Biden’s visit offered a glimmer of hope in what has been an otherwise challenging period for the country.
See photos from Biden’s trip to Ukraine
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