Symbolic significance of US President Biden’s visit to Ukraine

President Biden’s surprise visit is seen as a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin

NEW DELHI | Updated: 20 February, 2023 7:15 pm IST
US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine's capital, Kiev 

While embattled Ukraine’s capital Kiev is now accustomed to surprise visits from Western leaders, ostensibly to lend their support to the country that is engaged in a conflict with its powerful neighbour Russia.

However, on Monday, February 20, it witnessed one of the most high profile visits since the conflict that started a year ago. US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to the embattled country ahead of the first anniversary of its conflict with Russia.

President Biden’s visit was understandably kept secret, and it came amidst Beijing lashing out at US claims that China was sending more arms to Russia for its conflict with Ukraine.

President Biden’s first visit since the conflict started was considered full of symbolism, as it was seen as a clear message to Russia that the US was with the Ukrainians.

“As the world prepares to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I am in Kiev today to meet with President (Volodymyr) Zelensky and reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” President Biden said.

President Biden, who had previously visited the country multiple times when he was vice-president, also commended Ukraine’s courage during the conflict.

Blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the conflict, President Biden said that he was wrong in thinking Ukraine was weak and the West was a divided block.

“When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He was banking on the West’s inability to keep NATO together,” President Biden explained.

“He was counting on us not to be able to bring others to the side of Ukraine. He thought he could outlast us. I don’t think he’s thinking that right now. He’s just been plain wrong. He was dead wrong,” he said.

Expressing his gratitude, President Zelensky termed the surprise visit significant. “Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians. It’s the most important visit in the whole history of US-Ukraine relations. Today our negotiations were very fruitful. Ukraine is grateful to you, Mr President,” President Zelensky said.

During his visit to Ukraine, President Biden announced the delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armour systems, and air surveillance radars, to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments.

“Washington would provide Kiev with a new military aid package worth $500m that would be announced tomorrow,” he said. According to reports, the United States has committed $30bn in security assistance to Ukraine, to date.

“We will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine,” President Biden said.

President Zelensky says, “I know there will be a very significant package of support to Ukraine… serving a clear signal that Russia’s aggression has no chance.”

He adds that the results of this visit will surely be seen and have a reflection on the battlefield. The US decision to give Abrams tanks to Ukraine earlier in January has already contributed to reinforcing Ukraine’s defences.

President Biden will also travel to Poland to meet with President Andrzej Duda and the leaders of the Eastern Flank Allies and will continue to rally the world to support the people of Ukraine.

Also Read Story

INTERVIEW| Don’t preach me…Karti Chidambaram loses temper on Chinese bribery row, Rameswaram visit

INTERVIEW| I am a proud atheist; Udhaynidhi & I free to follow atheism: Kanimozhi

GROUND REPORT| BJP favored to sweep Haridwar in Uttarakhand elections

Pilibhit Voting: Don’t Know who’s Jitin Prasad, We Know Only Modi