Biden visits Ukraine on war anniversary, reaffirms US support: ‘Kyiv remains strong’

“I believed it was crucial to leave no doubt about the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine in their war,” said President Biden.

Biden’s trip to Ukraine was an act of defiance against Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had hoped to take over Kyiv quickly. Biden spoke about the night of the invasion, saying, “One year ago, on that dark night, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv, perhaps even the end of Ukraine.”

One year later, Kyiv remains firmly under Ukrainian control, and the city has returned to a semblance of normalcy. The fighting has shifted to the east, with occasional missile and drone attacks against military and civilian infrastructure.

Biden warned that the war is far from over, saying that the cost and sacrifices that Ukraine has had to endure have been extraordinary. However, he emphasized that Putin’s war of conquest is failing, despite his hopes of dividing and conquering.

“He thought we wouldn’t stick together. He thought he could outlast us. But he’s been plain wrong,” said Biden of Putin.

Biden’s visit allowed him to witness the devastation that the Russian invasion has inflicted on Ukraine. The country has suffered tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure damage, and thousands of troops and civilians have been killed.

Despite the challenges, Biden pledged long-term support for Ukraine and stated that freedom is worth fighting for. He promised to stand with President Zelenskyy for as long as it takes to secure victory. Zelenskyy responded, “We’ll do it.”

While the visit marked a rare occasion where a U.S. president traveled to a conflict zone without control over the airspace, Western surface-to-air missile systems have bolstered Ukraine’s defenses. The White House ensured deconfliction with Russia to prevent any miscalculations that could lead to direct conflict.

The trip was kept secret to ensure security, with only a small group of aides briefed on the plans. Biden traveled with a small entourage, including just a few senior aides and two journalists.

Biden’s trip to Ukraine marked his first visit to a war zone as president. Other western leaders, such as French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have made trips to Kyiv since the war began.

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