AP reports Biden stood with his Ukraine counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky at Mariinsky Palace and recalled the fears expressed nearly a year ago that Russia might quickly march in and take the Ukrainian capital.
“One year later, Kyiv stands,” Biden said from beind his podium decorated with the U.S. and Ukrainian flags. “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.”
The Ukraine visit comes as Biden decides he wants to be seen as well as heard on his first journey to the country since Russian troops invaded on February 24, 2022.
He also wants to build global support for Ukraine as the war between the Eastern European neighbors is expected to intensify with both sides preparing for spring offensives.
In Kyiv, Biden announced an additional half-billion dollars in U.S. assistance, including shells for howitzers, anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radars and other aid but no new advanced weaponry, the AP report sets out.
Ukraine is estimated to be burning through thousands more shells each month than the E.U. defence industry is currently able to produce.
In response Zelensky said he and Biden spoke about “long range weapons and the weapons that may still be supplied to Ukraine even though it wasn’t supplied before.”
He did not detail any further new military material commitments.
Biden however did pledge long-term support for Ukraine, saying “freedom is priceless. It’s worth fighting for for as long as it takes.”
“And that’s how long we’re going to be with you, Mr. President, for as long as it takes,” Biden promised. Zelensky, speaking in English, responded: “We’ll do it.”
President Biden is yet to visit East Palestine, Ohio, the scene of the fiery rail disaster that has devastated the small local community there.
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