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Monday, March 20, 2023

US President Joe Biden makes surprise visit to Kyiv in a show of support for Ukraine

On Monday, US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, just four days before the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion. This move was a display of strong American support for Ukraine, especially in the midst of the ongoing conflict in the region. Biden’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the heart of the capital is a significant and symbolic gesture. It marks the first time the US president has visited the country, and the high-risk visit signals continued commitment from the United States, which is Ukraine’s largest financial and military backer.

The city was in a tight security lockdown, with car traffic halted and even pedestrians blocked from certain streets. Shortly afterwards, an air raid siren went off in the city, adding to the sense of tension and danger. The visit was kept secret, and heavy US security was deployed near Ukraine’s border. Biden’s trip to Kyiv comes ahead of his scheduled visit to Poland, where he will mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under Biden’s leadership, the US has provided around USD 30 billion in security aid to Ukraine since the 2014 revolution. This aid is aimed at helping Ukraine defend its territory against Russian aggression. The US and its NATO allies have gradually expanded the array of weaponry they have pledged to include heavy tanks. Joe Biden has also been clear that the US will continue to back Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” despite flagging support among the American public and no near-term prospect of peace talks to end the conflict.

While other world leaders have visited Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy over the past year, and tour the war-scarred city, Joe Biden has stayed away due to security concerns and fears about the possibility of conflict between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. However, his visit now is a powerful statement of support and solidarity with Ukraine in the face of ongoing aggression from Russia.

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