WARSAW, Poland (AP) — President Joe Biden It warned on Tuesday that “harsh and bitter days are ahead” as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears its one-year mark.But no matter what, the US and its allies vowed to be “unwavering” in supporting the Ukrainians.
A day after his surprise visit to Kiev, Biden addressed neighboring Poland with strong words, sending a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin by praising allies in Europe over the past year. “NATO will not be divided, we will not tire.”
Biden told a crowd of thousands outside Warsaw’s Royal Castle: “A year ago, the world was ready for the fall of Kyiv. “I can report: Kyiv is strong. Kiev is proud. It stands tall, and most importantly, it stands free.
With Russia and Ukraine each preparing spring offensives, Biden has insisted he cannot back down from what he portrays as a global struggle between democracy and autocracy — although US support for current military aid appears to be softening.
“The democracies of the world will stand guard over freedom today, tomorrow and forever,” Biden declared. The US and its allies will have “Ukraine’s back”.
Biden’s speech came a day after his unannounced trip to KievThere he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and walked the city streets as air raid sirens sounded.
Last year, just weeks after Russian forces launched attacks on Ukraine, Biden issued a scathing condemnation. Putin from the gardens of the castle. Speaking to a crowd of Polish citizens and Ukrainian refugees — and millions of followers in Ukraine, Russia and around the world — on Tuesday, he made his case that Putin’s war was a failure.
“When President Putin ordered his tanks to roll into Ukraine, he thought we would. He was wrong,” Biden said.
The president also declared that while the world’s autocrats, including Putin, have weakened, “the world’s democracies have become stronger.”
“Autocrats only understand one word — no, no, no,” Biden said. “No, you will not take my country. No, you will not take my freedom. No, you won’t take my future.
Biden used the trip to prepare allies for a more complex war and to make America’s long-term commitment to allies in the region. He met on Tuesday with Moldovan President Mia Sandu – whom Moscow said last week was behind a plot to topple his country’s government. using external saboteurs – and with his host, Polish President Andrzej Duda.
“We must have security in Europe,” Biden said at the presidential palace. “It’s basic, simple, that’s the result.”
He described NATO as “the most consequential alliance in history” and said it was “stronger than ever” despite the Russian leader’s belief that it would fall apart over the war in Ukraine.
Duda hailed the US president’s visit to Kiev as “fascinating” and said it “raised the morale of Ukraine’s defenders”.
He said the trip was “a sign that the free world and its greatest leader, the president of the United States, stand by them.”
On Wednesday, Biden will meet again with Duda, along with other leaders of the Bucharest Nine, the eastern bloc members of the NATO military alliance. Ukraine is not a member.
While Biden was in Poland, Putin announced that Moscow would end its participation In the last nuclear arms control treaty with the US.
The New START Treaty limits the number of countries possessing long-range nuclear weapons and restricts the use of missiles that can carry nuclear weapons.
Despite his criticism of Putin, Biden did not mention the START suspension during his speech. The Russian Foreign Ministry later said that despite Putin’s announcement, it would continue to adhere to the deal’s caps.
The conflict in Ukraine – the most significant war in Europe since World War II – has already killed tens of thousands of people, destroyed Ukraine’s infrastructure and damaged the global economy.
While Biden wants to use his whirlwind trip to Europe as a moment to reassure Ukraine and allies, the White House also acknowledges there is no clear end to the war, and the situation on the ground is escalating. Complicated.
On Sunday the administration said it had new intelligence that China, normally on the sidelines of the conflict, was now considering sending lethal aid to Moscow. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said it would become a “serious problem” if Beijing followed suit.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden and Zelensky discussed Ukraine’s need to “win on the battlefield” in the coming months. Zelenskyy has been pressing the United States and European allies to provide fighter jets and long-range missile systems, known as ATACMS — something Biden has so far refused to offer. Sullivan declined to comment on whether there was any movement on that during the leaders’ speech.
The anniversary is an important moment for Biden, as there is no quick end to the war Strengthen European unity and reiterate the West’s position that Putin’s invasion is a frontal attack on the post-World War II international order. The White House hopes the president’s visit to Kyiv and Warsaw will help strengthen American and global resolve.
In the US, an Associated Press-NRC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released last week. Support for arms and direct economic aid to Ukraine is softening. Earlier this month, 11 House Republicans introduced a “Ukraine exhaustion” resolution urging Biden to end military and financial aid to Ukraine, while urging Ukraine and Russia to reach a peace deal.
During his visit to Kiev, Biden rejected the idea that US support was waning.
“For all the disagreements in our Congress on some issues, there is remarkable agreement in support of Ukraine,” he said. He described the conflict as “totally about democratic freedom”.
Biden drew high praise for Poland’s efforts to help Ukraine. More than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees have settled in Poland since the start of the war, and millions more have passed through Poland on their way to other countries. According to the White House, Poland has provided $3.8 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
The Biden administration announced last summer that it would establish a permanent U.S. garrison in Poland, creating a permanent U.S. foothold on NATO’s eastern flank.
“The truth is that the United States needs Poland and NATO as much as the United States needs NATO,” Biden told TUDA on Tuesday.
Miller and Megarian reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Monika Cieslowska in Warsaw, Ivan Vusi in Kiev and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed.