Biden visits Ukraine, emphasizes U.S. support

By Reagan Oliver, Staff Writer

President Joe Biden marked his President’s Day with a secret trip to Ukraine almost one year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, 2022. This trip marked the nine-year anniversary of armed conflict between the two countries. 

Biden flew to Ukraine on a militarized Boeing 757. 

“This was a risk that Joe Biden wanted to take,” White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said. The president’s trip lasted 23 hours, during which he stayed in Kyiv. The trip was intended to stand in solidarity with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

During his trip, the president announced a new weapons package that will be provided to Ukraine worth $500 million, making the total of U.S. military aid commitments nearly $30 billion dollars since the 2022 invasion.

After his trip to Ukraine, the president traveled to Warsaw, Poland, where he spoke to a crowd of thousands at the Gardens of the Royal Castel during his speech, Biden vowed to support Ukraine while also making a social comment on the struggle between authoritarianism and democracy.

“One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv. Well, I’ve just come from a visit to Kyiv, and I can report Kyiv stands strong, Kyiv stands proud, it stands tall and most important, it stands free,” Biden said.

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President Joe Biden visited Ukraine to reinforce American support for Ukraine in the ongoing war with Russia.

Biden’s speech also came a few hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to a joint session of the country’s Parliament. During Putin’s speech, he framed the invasion of Ukraine to be the start of a fight against the West. 

Biden took this point and then directly addressed the people of Russia. 

“Tonight I speak once more again to the people of Russia: The United States and the people of Europe do not seek to control or destroy Russia,” Biden said. “The West was not planning to attack Russia. Millions of Russian citizens who only want to live in peace with their neighbors are not the enemy.” 

Putin also announced that Russia would be pulling out of the New SMART Treaty. This treaty is the only remaining major nuclear agreement between Russia and the United States. 

Biden’s trip, however, is more than a well wishes tour. Right now, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is one of few major bipartisan topics.  

“He’s been good about connecting our national interests to the fight and that it’s good for the world for Russia not to be successful,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in an interview. “It’s going to be one of the decisive moments of his presidency.” 

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) emphasized his parties support for Ukraine, even as some Republicans remain divided on U.S. financial support for Ukraine.

“Reports about the death of Republican support for strong American leadership in the world have been greatly exaggerated. My party’s leaders overwhelmingly support a strong, involved America and a robust trans-Atlantic alliance.,” McConnell said.

“We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a recent trip to Ukraine.

“When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong,” Biden said.