WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden delivered a message of hope and U.S.-Ukrainian unity on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the country, and said the U.S. would announce more sanctions against Russia later this week.
Addressing a large crowd in Warsaw, Poland, after visiting Ukraine on Monday, Biden praised the two country’s efforts to deter Russian forces so far. He promised to continue standing with Ukraine “no matter what.”
“No one can turn away their eyes from the atrocities Russia has committed against the Ukrainian people — it’s abhorrent,” Biden said. “One year after the bombs began to fall, Russian tanks rolled in Ukraine, Ukraine is still independent and free.”
Ahead of his scheduled visit to Poland, Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine yesterday — his first trip to an active war zone as sitting president. He met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, the nation’s capital, and visited the Wall of Remembrance, a memorial to soldiers killed in the conflict so far.
Biden said it was an honor to pay tribute to the victims of the war. He reiterated the U.S.’s support for Ukrainian first responders, teachers and other workers who have supported the war effort.
“One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv,” he said. “I can report Kyiv stands strong. Kyiv stands proud, it stands tall, and most important, it stands free.”
Biden also thanked the people of Poland for hosting over 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees over the past year. He compared Ukraine’s current struggle with Poland’s front against Nazi Germany in World War II, saying the country understands the meaning of solidarity “better than anyone.”
After their bilateral meeting yesterday, Polish President Andrzej Duda thanked Biden for making the trip to the front lines, especially considering security challenges. Duda said his visit has boosted morale among the Ukrainian people: a sign that “a free world has not forgotten them.”
In his closing remarks, Biden said that the conflict — and more broadly, the world — is at a turning point. He emphasized the importance of supporting Ukrainian freedom and democracy so that it might be preserved for generations to come.
“All decisions are ours to make now,” Biden said. “A choice between chaos and stability, between building and destroying, between hope and fear.”