Biden Finally Visits Ukraine and Promises Another Half-Billion in Aid
Joe Biden marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with an unannounced visit to the war-torn country and a meeting with President Zelenskyy.
He arrived at Ukraine’s Mariinsky Palace to announce an additional half-billion dollars in U.S. assistance to Ukraine and pledged continued American support.
“One year later, Kyiv stands,” Biden said, “Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. The Americans stand with you and the world stands with you.”
While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been an unmitigated military disaster, with as many as 180,000 casualties, Ukraine warns that it is running out of both men and materiel as Russia begins another offensive.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy repeated his requests for more military aid from the West.
Now, some U.S. officials want the administration to train Ukrainians to fly F-16 fighters, so warplanes can be sent to help in the fight against Russia.
United States UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, appearing on CNN, sounded as if it was not as matter of if the U.S. sends the jets, but how.
“We have to ensure, and I think Secretary Blinken said this as well, that they have the training necessary and the capacity to use weapon systems that we provide to them,” Greenfield said.
The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), told CNN he hopes the U.S. sends the fighter jets.
“The fact is, the longer they wait, the longer this conflict will prevail. We need to throw everything we can into this fight, so that (Ukraine) can win,” McCaul said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken warns that China is considering sending weapons to Russia, and warned Chinese Foreign Affairs official Wang Yi in Munich this weekend that such a move would have grave consequences.
“It was important for me to share very clearly with Wang Yi that this would be a serious problem,” Blinken said.
The White House has accused Russia of crimes against humanity in its war with Ukraine. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says the U.S. should go further and designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“Because if you do that, under U.S. law, and China provides lethal weapons, they will get sanctioned. And to the Chinese, if you jump on the Putin train now, you’re dumber than dirt. It would be like buying a ticket on the Titanic after you saw the movie. Don’t do this,” he said.
Biden’s next stop is Poland where he’ll meet with President Duda and deliver a speech calling on Europe and the world to continue standing with Ukraine as long as it takes to defeat the Russians.