US President Joe Biden on Monday made a surprise visit to Kyiv, Ukraine ahead of the first anniversary of the full-fledged invasion by Russia.
He reached Kyiv during the early hours of Monday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, and the two stepped out into the streets of Kyiv.
Air raid sirens blared across the Ukrainian capital as Biden visited Kyiv but there were no reports of Russian missiles or air strikes. Ukraine’s Zelensky said he and Biden discussed long-range weapons during the POTUS’ visit.
The White House said that Biden would announce the delivery of critical equipment including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people. “Biden is set to announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine,” it further added.
Moreover, Biden promised a new military aid package worth USD 500 million to Ukraine.
“One year later, Kyiv stands,” Biden declared at Zelensky’s side in Mariinsky Palace, the gilded ceremonial home of the Ukrainian president. “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands.”
“Thank you so much for coming, Mr. President, at a huge moment for Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
Biden joined Zelensky for a visit to St. Michael’s monastery in downtown Kyiv, where the sun glittered off the golden domes. Both of the leaders walked along the Wall of Remembrance, where portraits are on display of more than 4,500 soldiers who have died since Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and first fomented a rebellion in eastern Ukraine.
Later, Biden got back into his motorcade and departed the monastery. The alarms sound almost daily in Kyiv. Ukrainian officials have been warning that Russia was planning a large-scale missile bombardment to be timed to the one-year anniversary of the war.
Biden was due to visit Poland today. The White House had said there are no plans for Biden to cross into Ukraine, but the proximity to the war zone raised a few doubts about the visit happening.