Date: 28 February 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

Biden’s Kyiv Visit Sends Strong Message to Moscow and West

U.S. President Joe Biden made a surprise trip to Kyiv on February 20, ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The visit carried huge symbolism as while in Kyiv, the U.S. president promised new military aid to Ukraine. Biden’s trip to war-stricken Ukraine was a clear sign of strong support for Ukraine from the United States sent to both Russia and some Western states unwilling to provide assistance to Kyiv. Perhaps the Kremlin considered Biden’s trip to Kyiv was no longer just an effort to save Ukraine but to smash Russia militarily.


Joe Biden’s historic trip to Kyiv was a secret until the last minute. After touching down in Poland, he took a train ride into Kyiv. This was a severe blow to Russia, humiliated by a brave U.S. president the Kremlin would mock. Biden met his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky almost one year after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine and recognized what is known as people’s republics in Ukraine’s Donbas. If the Kremlin sought to eclipse Biden’s address in Poland, the U.S. president’s trip in Kyiv was a nice preemptive blow dealt to Moscow. Although the visit was veiled in a cloak of secrecy, the U.S. notified Russia of President Biden’s secret visit to Ukraine hours before his departure in an attempt to avoid sparking conflict when he was in Kyiv. During his short trip to Kyiv, Biden arrived to the Mariinsky Palace where he met with Zelensky and his wife and delivered a brief speech before driving back to Poland. Biden promised new military aid for Ukraine worth $500 million. Some Ukrainian media outlets reported Biden might pledge to give Ukraine F-16 fighter jets and long-range ATACAMS missiles, but the U.S. leader did not make such a promise. The latest assistance package includes more ammunition, anti-tank weapons, and air defense radars. Biden was intently focused on discussing the coming months of fighting when he sat down with Zelensky, according to national security advisor Jake Sullivan. The timing was crucial as Biden arrived in Kyiv as some Western states began to encourage Kyiv to start peace talks with Russia. Combined with a Warsaw speech and the Bucharest Nine summit in Poland, Western allies got a comfortable asset to help Ukraine while not forcing Kyiv into any concessions. Russian President Vladimir Putin made no mention of Biden’s visit in his Federal Assembly address he delivered the next day.

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