US President Joe Biden has arrived in Kyiv to meet Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time on a secret visit.
According to local news agency Украина Сейчас, to the sound of airstrikes this morning, Mr Biden was seen walking across Mykhailivska Square to honor the fallen soldiers of the Russo-Ukrainian war.
Mr Zelensky later shared a photo of himself with his American counterpart on Telegram, shaking hands ahead of the one-year anniversary of the war.
“Joseph Biden, welcome to Kiev!” he wrote. “Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians.”
Mr Biden said in a statement: “As the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I am in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelensky and our steadfast and unwavering commitment to democracy , sovereignty and sovereignty of Ukraine to reaffirm territorial integrity.’
Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko confirmed Mr Biden’s visit, writing on Twitter: “Welcome Mr President!”
When the two-day trip to Poland was first announced, White House officials repeatedly denied plans that Mr Biden would cross the Poland-Ukraine border.
But he was spotted this morning after an hour-long train journey in Ukraine’s battered capital.
Mr. Biden added that he was looking forward to traveling to meet Polish President Andrzej Duda and other eastern NATO allies.
The Biden-Harris administration will provide around $500 million in additional aid to Ukraine, with details to be announced in the coming days.
This includes a lot of artillery ammunition, anti-tank systems and air surveillance radars.
The government will also impose a series of new sanctions against “elites and corporations that seek to circumvent or augment Russia’s war machine.”
“When Putin launched his invasion almost a year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided,” Biden said.
‘He thought he could outlive us. But he was absolutely wrong.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/20/biden-makes-surprise-visit-to-meet-zelensky-in-kyiv-18312843/ Biden makes a surprise visit to meet Zelenskyy in Kyiv