Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday that President Biden’s unannounced visit to his country is the “most important” visit in the history of their two countries, one that he said is allowing him to hope for an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine this year.
“This conversation brings us closer to the victory and we hope that this year… 2023, will become a year of victory,” Zelenskyy said via an English translator at a joint press conference with Biden. “This unprovoked and criminal Russian war against Ukraine and against the whole world and democratic world has to end with liberating the whole of Ukraine’s territory from Russia’s occupation and the sole guarantees of the long-term security for our country as well as the Europe and the whole world.”
“This is really the most important visit in the whole history of the Ukraine-U.S. relationship,” Zelenskyy added with Biden at his side.
Zelenskyy said his discussions with Biden were “very fruitful,” as Biden announced a new $500 million military aid package and more sanctions on entities that are trying to aid Russia. But he also said Biden’s visit is symbolic of the bilateral relationship that has been strengthened by the common goal of pushing Russia back.
“It’s very symbolic that we fully define our resilience through two meetings… my visit in December and the visit of the president of the United States to Kyiv today,” he said, referring to his late December address to a joint meeting of Congress.
Biden promised to stand with Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” and said on Tuesday his administration would announce another half billion in military aid comprised of artillery ammunition for HIMARs and howitzers, more Javelin missiles, anti-armor systems and air surveillance radar equipment.
Congress late last year approved another $45 billion in aid to Ukraine, and so far the U.S. has delivered about $113 billion in military and civilian aid since Russia’s invasion nearly one year ago, on Feb. 24, 2022.
Biden said he has been to Ukraine several times, including as vice president in the Obama administration, and said that Kyiv has “captured a part of my heart.”
“Russia’s aim was to wipe Ukraine off the map. Putin’s war of conquest is failing. Russia’s military has lost half its territory it once occupied,” Biden said. “Russia’s economy is now a backwater, isolated and struggling.”