The US President Joe Biden visited Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, on his first visit to the country since Russia invaded on 24 February 2013.
According to the president, Washington would provide Kyiv a new $500m military aid package. This would be announced Tuesday.
According to the White House, Mr Biden will announce additional sanctions against Russia and military support for Ukraine. This includes artillery ammunition and anti-armour system and air surveillance radars.
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Biden stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin believed Ukraine was weak and the West was divided and that he “thought he would outlast us”, but he was wrong.
The president of Ukraine claims that the two discussed long-range weapons. He also described the negotiations as “very fruitful.”
“Negotiations were very successful”
The White House released a statement stating that the president’s visit to Kyiv would “reaffirm and unflagging commitment towards Ukraine’s democracy and sovereignty as well as territorial integrity”.
He said that Russia will face more sanctions “against elites or companies that try to evade, backfill or support Russia’s war machine.”
Biden’s secret trip was to Kyiv: How it was planned
Joe Biden’s first trip to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began is historic. But what kind of planning goes into a trip like this?
Senior White House officials spoke out about the difficulties that the trip presented in a statement released earlier today.
Biden was hidden aboard an Air Force jet. The call sign “SAM060”, which stands for Special Air Mission, was used instead of “Air Force One”.
After a stop in Germany for fuel, Mr Biden switched off his transponder to begin the nearly hour-long flight from Washington to Rzeszow. It has been used as a gateway to Ukraine for billions in Western arms and VIP guests.
Instead of the usual 13 journalists, only two journalists were invited to board. For the duration of the journey into Ukraine, only two journalists were invited to board.
To reach Kyiv by train, Mr Biden traveled for ten hours from the Polish border. He chose to visit the capital in order to send a strong message to Russia.
On Monday morning, he arrived in Kyiv and was welcomed by Bridget Brink (the US ambassador to Ukraine) before he entered his motorcade to drive to Mariinsky Palace.
Even though the US had Western surface-to air missile systems that bolstered Ukraine’s defenses, it was rare for a US leader or diplomat to travel to a conflict area where none of its allies controlled the airspace. US surveillance planes kept Kyiv safe from Polish airspace.
Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director, stated: “Unlike previous presidential visits to warzones like Afghanistan and Iraq, the US does not have a military presence in Ukraine. This made it more difficult for a sitting president to visit.”
Jonathan Finer, deputy national-security adviser, said that the secret visit was meticulously planned over several months.
He gave praise to the top Ukrainian officials who played a crucial role in hosting the US president.
Speaking to reporters in Kyiv the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called Mr Biden’s visit an “extremely important signal of support for all Ukrainians”.
He said that “Negotiations today” were “very fruitful, very essential, and very crucial” and added that they will have “definitely an impact on the battlefield.
According to the White House, it had notified the Kremlin about the president’s visit “a few hours” prior to his departure.
“We did this a few hours before he left for deconfliction reasons. Due to the sensitive nature these communications, I won’t go into detail about how they responded or the nature of our message. Jake Sullivan, US National Security Adviser, said.
Trip marks an ‘historic moment’
Biden stated that the package would provide additional ammunition for Ukraine’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.
Deborah Haynes, Sky’s security editor and defence editor spoke from Kyiv. She said that the visit was a “historic moment” which included “extraordinary security lockdowns”, with the entire capital being locked down today.
After the White House stated last week that the president would not be traveling into Ukraine during his visit in Poland, the White House announced the unannounced travel. This was to commemorate the anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
He visited Russia just a day before Putin was scheduled to give a major speech. Putin is expected to outline Russia’s goals for the second year following the last year’s invasion.
On December 1, Mr Zelenskyy made his first visit to Ukraine since the war started.
While the symbolism is important, so is the substance.
Today was the beginning of history in Kyiv with Joe Biden’s first visit to Ukraine almost a year after a Russian invasion to overthrow the government.
The American leader met his Ukrainian counterpart at presidential palace in a snub against Vladimir Putin. They then paid tribute to the tens of thousand of Ukrainian soldiers who died fighting to expel Russian invaders.
“Good morning Mr President,” was the English greeting given by Mr Zelenskyy to Mr Biden as he emerged from a convoy of vehicles. He arrived in secret and was kept under unprecedented security lockdown.
One side of the square is surrounded by a memorial wall for the soldiers who died fighting Russia’s war. It was started in 2014 with the annexe of Crimea. But it was greatly amplified last years with the all out invasion.
The memorial was visited by the US President, who laid a wreath for Ukraine and an American flag next to one another.
While the symbolism is important, so is the substance.
In his words and promises, Mr Biden made it clear that the United States will support Kyiv for as long as necessary.
The US and its allies are aware that Russia believes time is on Russia’s side. They suspect the West will be distracted by other priorities, or fail to make the necessary military investments to continue supplying the Ukrainian military the hardware it requires to win.
The American president will visit Ukraine and take the risks that comes with it. He hopes to send a message to Vladimir Putin that US support is still available.
As Russian and Ukrainian forces fight for control over Bakhmut, the Donetsk region’s eastern city, Mr Biden’s visit coincides with their ongoing battle.
Although Mr Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine would continue its long-standing defense of the city for months, he cautioned “not at all costs”.
Corriere Della Sera, an Italian newspaper, said that defending it is crucial. However, not at all costs and not for everyone.
Since July, Russian forces have been invading Bakhmut. They have also made limited gains in the nearby villages, led by the mercenaries of Russian Wagner Group.
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Some say that the city is more symbolic than strategic, but it serves as the gateway to the Donetsk region’s other cities.