Story by News Editor Ellie Youngs
On Monday, February 20, President Biden slipped into Kyiv in secrecy to visit Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. This visit was a dramatic display of solidarity with Ukraine, especially seeing as it took place just four days before the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This trip was kept from the public eye, and White House officials reiterated that a trip to Ukraine would not be happening. Ukraine is currently an active war zone, with no presence of the U.S. military, which makes Biden’s surprise visit substantially different from previous presidents’ visits to countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan.
President Zelensky had paid a visit to Washington back in December to speak to a joint session of Congress. He then invited President Biden to visit Kyiv stating the importance of him being able to see the situation up close.
After visiting president Zelensky, Biden proceeded to move on to meet with Polish president Andrzej Duda, along with multiple other European leaders in an effort to solidify Western support for Ukraine against Russia. President Biden highlighted Ukraine’s resilience throughout this conflict and advocated for the West to continue their funds for this war effort; he proceeded to pledge $460 million of military aid to Ukraine– Washington’s 32nd aid package. Biden also announced that additional sanctions would be placed on institutions that have sought to evade existing penalties on Russian banks. Although Biden is enthusiastic about his willingness to continue providing aid for Ukraine, the enthusiasm of the people back in the United States has simmered down, making this proposal more difficult to carry out. A recent poll by the Associated Press revealed that 48% of American adults were in support of providing weapons for Ukraine in comparison to the 60% that was recorded last May.
President Zelensky has also started lobbying for new military equipment; this call for help grew louder after Russia launched a series of missiles on February 16 that lead to the destruction of vital infrastructure in Ukraine.
President Biden has not wavered in his support for Ukraine, and he explained that the purpose of his visit was to demonstrate that the United States is “here to stay.”