In talks with President Volomir Zelensky in Kiev on Monday, Joe Biden laid out his case for visiting the Ukrainian capital as the war enters its second year.
“I think it’s crucial that the United States stands behind Ukraine in the war, there’s no question about it,” the U.S. president said. “The people of Ukraine have come forward in a way that very few have been able to in the past.”
Biden emphasized that Washington has broad bipartisan support for the Ukraine cause, despite the reluctance of some Republicans to provide further aid.
“While our Congress is divided on some issues, there is an important consensus in support of Ukraine,” he said. “It’s not just about freedom in Ukraine … it’s about freedom in democracy as a whole,” he said.
Biden arrived in Kiev at 8 a.m. local time, according to reporters who traveled with him inside Ukraine.
“It’s great to be back in Kiev,” Biden said upon arrival. He was greeted by Bridget Brink, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Just after 8:30 a.m. local time, Biden’s motorcade arrived at the Mariinsky Palace. Zelensky and his wife, Olena Zelenska, greeted him at the entrance.
“Thank you for coming,” Zelensky said, shaking Biden’s hand. “More importantly, how are the kids?” Biden asked, while adding: “Nice to meet you.”
Asked what it means to be in Kiev, Biden noted that this is his eighth visit to the city. “It’s more important every time,” Biden said.
He added that the purpose of his trip was to convey to Zelensky the message that the US “is here to stay”. “We’re not leaving,” Biden said.