President Biden capped off his clandestine visit to Eastern Europe on Tuesday with a rousing defense of democracy and the United States' support for Ukraine ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion. He told a crowd of thousands in Warsaw, Poland, that after a year spent "bracing for the fall of Kyiv," Ukraine instead "stands proud. It stands tall, and most importantly, it stands free."
Biden's speech comes just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed his own nation in a bellicose continuation of the imperialistic justification for the invasion, vowing, among other things, to suspend Russian involvement in the New START nuclear arms treaty.
"Autocrats only understand one word: 'No,'" Biden exclaimed during his remarks, moments of which were aimed directly at the Russian public and Putin himself. "No, you will not take my country. No, you will not take my freedom. No, you will not take my future."
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"Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia," he added. "Never." Biden also argued that the war has backfired against Putin's aims to weaken western alliances, declaring instead that "NATO is stronger than it's ever been."
One day earlier, Biden appeared alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, announcing plans for nearly $500 million dollars in additional U.S. support for Ukraine's ongoing repulsion of Russian invasion efforts. Biden's surprise visit to Ukraine, the first modern wartime appearance of U.S. president in a non-American combat zone, was the result of months of secret planning that culminated in a 10-hour train ride over the Polish-Ukranian border in the latest example of what railway owner Oleksandr Kamyshin has dubbed "Iron Diplomacy."
Speaking in Kyiv on Monday, Biden made clear that the purpose of his appearance on the ground was to show that the should "not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about U.S. support for Ukraine in the war."
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