Joe Biden in Ukraine amidst ongoing war; pledges more aid and arms
Kyiv: As the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war this week, American President Joe Biden today made a surprise visit to Ukraine to “reaffirm” his “unwavering and unflagging” commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
Biden met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Mariinsky Palace here and they had an extended discussion on American support for Ukraine. Zelenskyy said both leaders also talked about long-range weapons and the weapons “that may still be supplied to Ukraine, even though it wasn’t supplied before”.
The US President talked about uniting the leading economies of the world to impose an “unprecedented cost” that he claimed was “squeezing Russia’s economic lifelines”.
“I remember it vividly because I asked you — I asked you next — I asked you, “What is there, Mr President? What can I do for you? How can I be of help? And I don’t know that you remember what you said to me, but you said, and I quote, “Gather the leaders of the world. Ask them to support Ukraine.” “Gather the leaders of the world, and ask them to support Ukraine,” Biden told Zelenskyy.
He recalled building a coalition of nations, “from the Atlantic to the Pacific: NATO to the Atla- — in the Atlantic; Japan in the Pacific. I mean, across the — across the world, the number of nations stood up — over 50 — to help Ukraine defend itself with unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support”.
He pointed out that together, they had committed nearly 700 tanks and thousands of armoured vehicles, 1,000 artillery systems, more than 2 million rounds of artillery ammunition, more than 50 advanced launch rocket systems, anti-ship and air defence systems, all to defend Ukraine.
“And that doesn’t count the other half a billion dollars we’re going to be — we’re announcing with you today and tomorrow that’s going to be coming your way. And that’s just the United States, in this piece,” Biden said.
Today, Biden announced providing artillery ammunition for HIMARS and howitzers, more Javelins, anti-armour systems, and air surveillance radars “that’ll protect Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments”.
Biden further said that later this week, “we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade sanctions and backfill Russia’s war machine”.
He also thanked the bipartisan support in the US Congress because of which this week the US would be delivering “billions in direct budgetary support which the government can put to use immediately and help provide for basic services of citizens”.
Zelenskyy said Bdien’s was the visit in the “most difficult period for Ukraine when Ukraine is fighting for our own liberty, for the liberties of the world”. He added that the results of Biden’s visit “will surely be seen and will surely have a reflection on the battlefield and in liberating our territories”.
Already this week, in New York, together with the United States of America and over 60 other countries will be submitting a draft resolution supporting peace in Ukraine, for consideration by the United Nations General Assembly.
“And on the eve of the 24th of February, we believe that the approval of this resolution would be very significant evidence to the fact that the terrorist state would never break a civilized country,” Zelenskyy said.
Describing his negotiations with Biden as “very important and crucial”, Zelenskyy said they were “very fruitful”. Holding Russia responsible for the war, he demanded that “the aggressor has to take responsibility for the aggression and to reimburse all the damages”.
Biden assented, “Pulling people out of apartments that are being shelled and — literally what I think is a war crime.”
According to Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin “was dead wrong” when he invaded Ukraine thinking that Ukraine was weak and the West was divided and that he could outlast them.
“This is the largest land war in Europe in three-quarters of a century, and you’re succeeding against all and every expectation, except your own. We have every confidence that you’re going to continue to prevail,” Biden told Zelenskyy.
Before the meeting, Biden stated that in course of his meeting with President Zelenskyy and his team, he would have an extended discussion on American support for Ukraine. “I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armour systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments. And I will share that later this week, we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine. Over the last year, the United States has built a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific to help defend Ukraine with unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support – and that support will endure,” he said.
Biden said he also looked forward to travelling to Poland to meet President Andrzej Sebastian Duda and the leaders of USA’s Eastern Flank Allies, as well as deliver remarks on how the United States will continue to rally the world to support the people of Ukraine and the core values of human rights and dignity in the UN Charter that unite us worldwide.
– global bihari bureau