President Biden speaks to a crowd in Warsaw, Poland – 21 Feb 2023 (Jack Evans)
By Kevin Zupkas
Nearly a year after Russian tanks rolled across the border into Ukraine –– with many military experts having predicted that Kyiv would fall within a few days –– President Biden visited the still Ukrainian-controlled capital in what was a hugely symbolic and solidary event.
Biden’s journey to Ukraine itself was largely secretive: leaving the White House at 4:15 a.m. Eastern Time on Feb. 19, and even posting a fake day schedule on the White House website.
Biden wasn’t seen in public until he arrived in the Ukrainian capital that Monday morning. He took a train from an airport in Poland in what Ukrainian National Rail (Ukrzaliznytsia) CEO Oleksandr Kamyshin dubbed “Rail Force One.”
Many ceremonial proceedings took place during his visit, including a laying of wreaths in the colors of the Ukrainian and United States’ flags in honor of fallen Ukrainian soldiers.
The most memorable developments of the visit, however, occurred at the presidential palace where Biden heavily criticized the failures of Putin’s evil actions and reaffirmed the West’s unrelenting and unyielding support for Ukraine.
“One year later, Kyiv stands and Ukraine stands. Democracy stands, Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you” and that “Kyiv has captured a part of my heart,” he said.
Biden pledged another military package worth $460 million, mostly consisting of ammunition and hand-held arms such as Javelin anti-tank launchers. He left Ukraine for Poland around 8:00 p.m. local time that day. The following day, Feb. 22, he met with Polish president Andrzej Duda before holding a speech in Warsaw, Poland.
Biden’s speech coincided with Putin’s decision to suspend its ratification of the START Treaty: a treaty that limits the U.S. and Russia’s nuclear arsenals –– a move that was seen as escalatory. In response, Biden reaffirmed the strength and unity of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) coalition in his speech and emphasized the necessity of security throughout the European continent.
“[Putin] doubts our staying power. He doubts our continued support for Ukraine. He doubts whether NATO can remain unified. But there should be no doubt our support for Ukraine will not waver. NATO will not be divided, and we will not tire,” Biden said. “The Ukrainian people are too brave. America, Europe, a coalition of nations for the Atlantic to the Pacific, we were too unified. Democracy was too strong.”
Biden’s statements reassuring the power and unity of the NATO alliance were well received by the crowd of Polish citizens and Ukrainian refugees.
Liberty Lexington’s very own Jack Evans, who attended the event, said the audience was overwhelmingly supportive of Biden –– even more so than of their own president, Duda –– who showed strong faith in the Eastern European populace towards US presence and the NATO alliance.
What we have learned from Biden’s Eastern European excursion is not that the U.S. is supportive of Ukraine and its NATO allies, but rather we learned the true scope of the unity among the NATO alliance, and the popularity of U.S. presence in Eastern Europe.
It is important then, that we continue our unrelenting support for Ukraine and continue cooperation with our NATO allies in order to guarantee peace and democracy throughout the European continent for years to come.