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Biden Says ‘The World Stands with You’ as He Makes Unannounced Visit to Ukraine

Written by on February 20, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit Monday to Ukraine, days ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, saying he was there to “show our support for the nation’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Speaking alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, Biden announced $500 million in new U.S. aid, including artillery ammunition and anti-tank weapons. He also said there would be new U.S. sanctions against Russia this week.

“One year later, Kyiv stands. And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands,” Biden said. “The Americans stand with you and the world stands with you.”

Biden spoke about bringing together a coalition of more than 50 countries to help Ukraine’s military, and uniting leading economies to impose “unprecedented costs” on Russia’s economy.

“Putin thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided,” Biden said. “He thought he could outlast us. I don’t think he’s thinking that right now.”

Zelenskyy thanked Biden for coming at a huge moment for Ukraine, and said he looked forward to discussing the battlefield situation with the U.S. leader.

Air raid sirens were heard in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine as Biden visited, including as he and Zelenskyy visited a cathedral in the capital.

Biden and Zelenskyy also laid a wreath at a memorial wall dedicated to fallen heroes from the conflict.


U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walk next to Saint Michael’s cathedral, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine Feb. 20, 2023
U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy walk next to Saint Michael’s cathedral, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine Feb. 20, 2023


Biden was already scheduled to travel to the region, but the official White House schedule said he was not due to leave Washington until late Monday with Poland as his destination.

The official White House schedule released Sunday included remarks from Biden Tuesday in Warsaw describing U.S. efforts to rally support for Ukraine and containing a pledge to continue to stand with the Ukrainian people.

Biden was also due to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and leaders of the Bucharest Nine group of countries before departing for Washington on Wednesday.

Members of Biden’s administration have visited Ukraine during the past year to meet with officials and show U.S. support, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Biden’s wife, Jill, made an unannounced stop in Ukraine last May.

Zelenskyy’s first known wartime trip outside of his country was to the United States in December.

China aid

The United States and European Union warned Monday of unspecified consequences should China provide lethal aid for Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters there would be “real consequences” in U.S.-China relations and that he had shared the U.S. concerns directly with top Chinese foreign policy official Wang Yi.

“I think China understands what’s at risk were it to proceed with providing that support to Russia,” Blinken said.

He added that many other countries would take such military aid from China to Russia very seriously.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a briefing Monday that the United States is not in a position to make demands of China, and that China’s relations with Russia is based on “non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third parties.”

“It is the United States and not China that is endlessly shipping weapons to the battlefield,” Wang Wenbin said.

European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell told reporters in Brussels that he had also discussed the situation with Wang Yi and asked him not to provide arms to Russia.

Borrell said such Chinese aid “would be a red line in our relationship.”

He spoke ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers and said Ukraine’s most urgent need is ammunition. Borrell said the ministers would discuss how to more quickly provide arms, especially ammunition, to Ukrainian forces.

Some information for this story came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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