Early Sunday Morning, U.S. President Joe Biden made an unprecedented trip to an active warzone in Kyiv to meet with President Zelinskyy. The visit was notable because the U.S. does not have a military presence on the ground in Ukraine, which made a visit from a sitting President all the more challenging.
The trip was not without its risks. Russia was notified just hours before the visit and was reportedly displeased. There was a risk that Russian artillery or jets could have attempted to engage Air Force One. Still, such an act would have constituted an act of war, and Russia would have risked facing the might of NATO should the U.S. invoke Article 5, which states that “an attack on one is an attack on all.” The President’s plane, when it travels domestically or abroad, has restricted airspace and a large cushion of security measures. However, the trip to Ukraine was heavily escorted by U.S. fighter jets, with those of NATO on standby should they need to be deployed. The Pentagon did not provide any specifics about the security package, but the security measures were extensive.
During his visit, President Biden announced another $500 million in military aid to Ukraine, bringing America’s contribution to $30 billion dollars. This aid is aimed at helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression as the conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine continues.
The conflict began in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and has continued in the form of ongoing insurgencies in the Donbass region. The conflict escalated, with the Russian military forces invading Ukraine in February of 2022. The conflict has taken a toll on the people of Ukraine, with thousands of people killed and millions more displaced.
“As we approach the anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I’m in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.” Said U.S President, Joe Biden
President Biden’s visit to Ukraine is also notable for its timing. The trip comes just days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion. Biden is scheduled to visit Poland after his visit to Ukraine to discuss high-level peace talks to bring an end to the conflict in Ukraine. The talks are aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to the conflict, and the U.S. has been working with European partners to find a way to de-escalate the conflict.
“They talked about Ukraine’s needs in terms of energy, infrastructure, economic support, humanitarian needs. And they also talked about the political side of this, including the upcoming U.N. General Assembly session on Ukraine, as well as Ukraine’s Peace Formula and Ukraine’s efforts to rally international support for a just and sustainable and durable peace built on the principles of the U.N. Charter, chief among them sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Said Whitehouse Statement
Whether the peace talks amount to any lasting, cease fire is yet to be determined. Putin has made it clear the Kremlin will never retreat as it sees Ukraine as the crown jewel that is still a part of Russia. Whereas Ukrainian President Zelinskyy has signalled, his country will never surrender to a tyrannical dictator.
As the war continues, the U.S will continue to play a major role providing support to Ukraine. Biden becomes the lastet world leader landing in Ukraine to meeting with President Zelinskyy. In May of 2022, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and his Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Ukraine to participate in a flag raising ceremony to mark the re-opening of the Canadian Embassy in Ukraine. In the coming months, more world leaders will travel to Ukraine to express their show of support for the nation in hopes of finding a lasting solution that will end the war in the region.
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