Friday, March 31, 2023

Putin was ‘dead wrong’: Biden says on surprise visit to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden on Monday made a surprise trip to Kyiv, promising increased arms deliveries for Ukraine and unflagging support ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the country.
Air raid sirens rang out across the capital as Biden met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on what is the US president’s first visit to the country since Russian troops invaded on February 24, 2022.
Uniformed Ukrainian military officers lined the street just outside. Biden and Zelensky walked over and together laid a wreath at the Wall of Remembrance for the fallen heroes of the Russian-Ukrainian war, as a military salute played and the two presidents stared down in silence for a few moments.
Biden promised increased arms deliveries for Ukraine and vowed Washington’s “unflagging commitment” in defending Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments,” he was quoted as saying in a White House statement.
Ukraine is estimated to be burning through thousands more shells each month than the EU defence industry is currently able to produce.
Zelensky hailed Biden’s visit as a key sign of support.
“Joseph Biden, welcome to Kyiv! Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians,” Zelensky said on Telegram in English.
The visit came as Beijing lashed out against US claims that China was considering sending arms to Russia to assist in its war in Ukraine.
“It is the United States and not China that is endlessly shipping weapons to the battlefield,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said when asked about the US claims.
“We urge the United States to earnestly reflect on its own actions, and do more to alleviate the situation, promote peace and dialogue, and stop shifting blame and spreading false information,” he told a regular briefing.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also warned China against providing Russia with weapons for the war in Ukraine, saying: “for us, it would be a red line in our relationship.” On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China was now “considering providing lethal support” to Moscow ranging “from ammunition to the weapons themselves”.
The European Union and United States have sided firmly with Ukraine since Moscow launched its all-out invasion a year ago, providing Kyiv with weapons and financial aid worth billions of euros.
There has been widespread concern about Beijing’s deepening relationship with Moscow and its refusal to condemn the Kremlin’s aggression outright.

Biden pledges new $500 million military aid package for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden has discussed long-range weapons and a new military aid package with his Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday. Biden, who made an unannounced wartime visit to Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, barely days ahead of the first anniversary of Russian invasion, said Ukraine will get additional military aid package worth $500 million from the US.
After the meeting, Zelenskyy said the military support and more details will be announced on Tuesday. The White House in a statement said that the package will include HIMARS ammunition, anti-armour systems and air surveillance radars.
Additional sanctions will also be placed on Russia, and companies that are trying to “evade or backfill Russia’s war machine”.
“Over the last year, the United States has built a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific to help defend Ukraine with unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support – and that support will endure,” Biden said in a statement.
“… Even one year later (since Russian invasion), Kyiv stands, Ukraine stands, democracy stands, the America stands with you and the world stands with you. Kyiv has captured a part of my heart,” Biden said during his surprise visit to Ukraine.
He further said that the US will remain with Kyiv “as long as it takes”.


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