Biden Visits Kyiv Ahead of War’s One-Year Anniversary, Pledges ‘Unwavering Support’

President Joe Biden made a surprise trip to Kyiv on Monday morning, pledging America’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine in a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky.


President Joe Biden made a surprise trip to Kyiv on Monday morning, pledging America’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine in a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  • “One year later, Kyiv stands,” Biden stated at a joint press conference with Zelensky at Mariinsky Palace. “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.”
  • Donning aviator sunglasses, Biden and Zelensky walked the streets of Kyiv and laid a wreath at a memorial to fallen Ukrainian soldiers during the nearly five-hour visit.
  • “I thought it was critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about U.S. support for Ukraine in the war,” Biden told reporters. The President’s visit coincides with the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022.
  • The President pledged to provide an additional $500 million in new military aid for Ukraine including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and surveillance radars in addition to new sanctions on companies fueling the “Russian war machine.”
  • Biden’s surprise trip is “a striking show of solidarity – an intentionally powerful message to Moscow” from what one Ukrainian minister called “our important, main partner”: the United States.
  • Biden secretly departed Washington early Sunday morning, flying to Poland before traveling to Kyiv via train. The White House even issued a public schedule for Monday showing the president in Washington before his planned departure for Warsaw on Monday night.
  • Ensuring Biden’s safety on the ten-hour train ride to Kyiv was a “near-impossible endeavor,” officials told Politico, but the President had made visiting Kyiv a priority for months and went through with the trip anyway. U.S. officials notified Russia of Biden’s trip hours before the visit in a sign of the inherent risk of Biden’s journey.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • “Mr. Biden’s visit to Kyiv recalled the secret missions flown by Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump to Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of the wars in those countries,” the New York Times wrote. “But bringing a president into Ukraine without the sort of American troop presence that was on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, much less control of the airspace, presented a security challenge of a vastly different magnitude.”
  • The Guardian noted Biden and Zelensky were escorted by a “large security detail” during their walk through the center of Kyiv to visit St. Michael’s Cathedral. Air raid sirens could be heard wailing in the capital during Biden’s visit.
  • CNN reported Biden made the final decision to travel to Kyiv at an Oval Office meeting on Friday with his top national security aides. The trip was orchestrated with the highest echelons of Zelensky’s government and Biden was “satisfied the risk was manageable,” said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.


  • Fox News wrote the Biden team decided to notify the Russians of the President’s trip for “deconfliction purposes” as Kyiv and other civilian areas have been a frequent target for Russian missile strikes throughout the conflict.
  • Biden is supposed to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday upon his return from Kyiv as part of his previously scheduled trip to Poland, according to the Wall Street Journal. He will also meet with NATO leaders from Eastern Europe on Wednesday.
  • National Review’s Mark Antonio Wright praised Biden, writing his trip “took guts” and was an “example of America in its finest tradition.” Wright continued: “Make no mistake, there was risk involved in this trip. Traveling to the capital of a nation fighting a shooting war with a great power, the U.S. had no way to choreograph with exactitude the circumstances of his travel or arrival. Neither the U.S. nor Ukraine has total control of the airspace. Neither the U.S. nor Ukraine could guarantee Biden’s security on the ground. The president of the United States was inside the Russian WEZ — the weapons engagement zone — the entire trip. For that Joe Biden should receive credit.”

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© Dominic Moore, 2023