Kyiv, (International News Desk) In a surprise visit just ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in Kyiv, the country’s capital, on Monday. He met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at Mariinsky Palace and announced an additional half-billion dollars in U.S. assistance for Ukraine, which includes shells for howitzers, anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radars, and other aid, but no new advanced weaponry.
This visit marks the first time Biden has traveled to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion one year ago. He was initially expected to visit Poland to mark the anniversary of the war but instead embarked on a nearly 10-hour train ride from the Polish border to visit Ukraine’s capital. In his remarks, Biden reaffirmed the U.S.’s commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
During the meeting, Biden noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “dead wrong” in believing Ukraine was weak when he launched his invasion a year ago. Biden announced that he would deliver critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars, to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments. He also said that later this week, the U.S. would announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine.
Biden’s visit also included a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda and the leaders of the Eastern Flank Allies, as the U.S. looks to continue rallying the world to support Ukraine.
Biden departed the Ukrainian capital in the early afternoon local time after spending roughly 5 hours in the city. As Biden arrived, sirens could be heard in war-torn Ukraine, and officials warned of a massive barrage of missiles that Russia may launch on Friday, Feb. 24, in its own acknowledgment of the one-year anniversary of the conflict.
The U.S. has already supported Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in financial aid and military equipment, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also announced $5.5 billion in aid for Ukraine as Biden visited with Zelensky. While some U.S. lawmakers have criticized decisions to continue giving financial aid without proper oversight, the Biden administration has vowed to support Zelensky’s regime for “as long as it takes.”