Biden embraces Zelensky in Kiev, ‘Putin has failed’ – The World

Biden embraces Zelensky in Kiev, ‘Putin has failed’ – The World

US President Joe Biden arrived in Warsaw after a historic visit to Kiev.

(Written by reporter Ana Lisa Rapana)

Kiev siren sounds at the end of the morning, while Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky cross the square in front of Saint-Michel AbbeyIn the heart of the Ukrainian capital.

The President of the United States has just arrived in town for a surprise visit that takes everyone by surprise. And it was precisely these whistles that stopped the historical moment, reminding that under a blue sky and a warm, almost winter sun, Biden came to embrace the leader of a country at war. The Commander-in-Chief came to reiterate the “unwavering support” of the United States, “to underscore our unwavering commitment to democracy and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

To confirm that America will remain by Kiev’s side “as long as it needs it,” on the eve of the anniversary of Russian aggression, February 24, 2022. A very symbolic event, in addition to the symbolic image of this historical event. Today the embrace between Biden and Zelensky will remain in front of a wall of faces: hundreds and hundreds of photos, of men and women, of Ukrainians who died in battle since 2014. This day also marks the ninth anniversary of the Maidan Revolution and the day dedicated to the “heroes”, the victims of the suppression of that revolution, is celebrated. .


The affection of the two leaders Perceptible while walking in the center of Kiev. Then, at the Mariinsky Palace, Biden announces a new half-billion-dollar aid package: It will include more military equipment, including artillery ammunition and more Javelins and howitzers. He reveals that they spoke with Zelensky about “long-range weapons and weapons that could still be provided to Ukraine”. But above all, he praised the heroism and courage of the Ukrainians, recalling that phone call with Zelensky a year ago, when Russian forces were besieging Kiev and all seemed lost: “You told me you could hear explosions in the background. I will never forget that.” I asked him: What can I do? To do? And you answered me: Gather the leaders to support Ukraine, tell them to support Ukraine. One year later, Kiev is resisting, resisting democracy, and the world is resisting you. Putin thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided.

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He thought he could beat us. But he was very wrong and now he is failing.” Volodymyr Zelensky’s face reads an awareness of the magnitude of the moment: “This visit brings us closer to victory,” he says, “It is the most important visit in the entire history of relations between Ukraine and the United States.” Its results will be shown on the battlefield,” he says. He adds, “We hope that this year 2023 will become a year of victory.” Zelensky desperately wanted this moment: Kiev requested a visit by Biden, which, according to Ukrainian government sources, was prepared in a short time, about a week, in the strictest secrecy, through the channels of the president’s closest collaborators, his chief of staff Andrei Yermak, and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Washington has thought out the rest of its part to reduce the risks to a “manageable” level.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stressed that the mission is “historic and unprecedented in modern times”, but also “risky”, revealing that the Russians had been warned only a few hours in advance to avoid “accidents” that could lead to a direct confrontation between the two nuclear powers. However, it was worth it, if indeed someone would compare this visit to his visit to the Berlin Wall in 1961, in the midst of the crisis with the then Soviet Union, for its symbolic power.

Then there’s the value of that push for a path to peace — not officially confirmed but taken for granted by many at this point — if it’s true, as Sullivan reports again, that the two leaders in conversation confront the subject of “the coming months of war,” about what Ukraine needs to defend itself, ”but also about the process“ towards a just and lasting peace.

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The calendar for the next few days better defines the importance of Biden’s mission: in the next few hours there will be the much-anticipated speech by Vladimir Putin to Parliament on what Moscow describes as a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, while the US leader, shortly after, He will address the whole world from the castle in Warsaw. Expectations are also growing for China’s mediation efforts: Tomorrow, Beijing envoy Wang Yi will appear in the Kremlin to talk about Xi Jinping’s peace plan, and the Chinese president himself will speak on the first anniversary of the conflict. All comes clear in Kiev as the joint press conference of Biden and Zelensky ends, which lasted an hour and a half in total. Shortly thereafter, the US President leaves DC. There are less than six hours left, yet the mark left on history can be indelible. While in Kiev’s “Alley of the Brave” there is a plaque inscribed with the name of the American president along with the start date of the Russian invasion and today’s date.

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