On Monday, President Joe Biden made an unexpected and historic trip to the conflict-torn country of Ukraine as a sign of support and solidarity with a democracy fighting for its existence after Russia seized the country almost a year ago.
Before Biden arrived, information about the trip—which included a meeting with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy—was kept strictly under wraps.
“Unchecked aggression is a threat to all of us. One year later, Kyiv stands and Ukraine stands. Democracy stands, Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you. Kyiv has captured a part of my heart,” Biden said.
After a roughly 10-hour overnight train journey from Poland, Biden landed in Ukraine on Monday morning local time and went to the Mariinsky Palace, where he signed a visitor book and spoke briefly with Zelenskyy.
Also, Biden went to the US Embassy in Kiev. He once more took the train and returned to Poland shortly after 8 p.m. local time on Monday, according to the media pool.
As the war entered its second year, Russia continued to launch missiles into Ukraine, raising concerns about the perils of the American commander-in-chief traveling there while under continuous assault. While Biden was on the ground, air raid sirens sounded.
A US president hasn’t visited a conflict area without an active US military presence before in contemporary history. There were several Ukrainian police and military troops present, and much of Kyiv’s central area was closed off, which caused adjacent traffic to be paralyzed.
Biden’s visit to Ukraine is a clear indication that the US is supporting Zelenskyy in the face of mounting domestic pressure to reduce US aid.