U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed his country’s unwavering support for Ukraine during a surprise visit to meet with President Zelensky in Kyiv on Monday.
Biden was in the country for a matter of hours, conducting a walkabout in the Ukrainian capital before giving a speech in which he criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for his continued aggression. He also insisted that the United States remains a powerful ally of Ukraine in the ongoing conflict.
Details surrounding President Biden’s visit to the country, such as logistics and time frames, were kept classified due to “security concerns” until after he had departed Kyiv, which he did at approximately 2 p.m. local time.
“Freedom is priceless. It’s worth fighting for as long as it takes,” Biden reportedly told Zelensky during the visit, while the Ukrainian president told reporters the “negotiations were very fruitful.”
In a speech, Biden reaffirmed his commitment to supporting Kyiv in driving back Russian forces from its occupied territory in the country’s east.
“Putin thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided… he’s counting on us not sticking together,” Biden said. He was counting on the inability to keep NATO united. He was counting on us not to be able to bring in 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.
“We know that there’ll be very difficult days and weeks and years ahead, but Russia’s aim was to wipe Ukraine off the map. Putin’s war of conquest is failing,” the U.S. president added.
The United States is expected to announce a new $500 million package of support to Ukraine on Tuesday. It is understood to involve the transfer of extra artillery ammunition, including more HIMARS rockets, and anti-armor weapons, such as Javelin missiles, to strike Russian tanks and other infantry vehicles.
“This is an unequivocal signal that Russian attempts to win will have no chance,” Zelensky told reporters, in reference to Biden’s visit and further pledges of military support.
“Together we will protect our cities, our people from the terror of Russia,” he added.
Joe Biden is expected to travel to Poland later on Monday to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and the leaders of the Bucharest Nine where he is expected to deliver a major speech.