President Joe Biden expressed solidarity with Ukraine during his surprise five-hour visit to the Eastern European country on Monday.
In a note to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the guestbook of the Mariinskyi Palace, which is the official residence of Ukraine’s president, Biden wrote: “I am honored to be welcomed again in Kyiv.”
“I stand in solidarity and friendship with the freedom loving people of Ukraine. Mr. President, please accept my deepest respect for your courage and leadership. Slava Ukraini!”
The Ukrainian phrase at the end stands for “glory to Ukraine.”
During his visit to Kyiv, Biden announced $500 million in additional assistance to the country including artillery ammunition for the HIMARS systems.
“Together, we have committed nearly 700 tanks, thousands of armored vehicles, 1,000 artillery systems, more than two million rounds artillery ammunition, more than 50 advanced launch rocket systems, anti-ship and air defense systems,” said Biden. “All to defend Ukraine. And that doesn’t count the other half a billion dollars that we will be renouncing to you today and tomorrow.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan summarized the key points from Biden’s visit and conversations with the Ukrainian leader.
“The president was very focused on making sure that he made the most of his time on the ground, which he knew was going to be limited,” he said. “So he was quite focused on how he was going to approach his conversation with President Zelensky and in part how the two of them were really going to look out over the course of 2023 and try to come to a common understanding of what the objectives are.”
Biden and Zelensky “spent time talking about the coming months in terms of the battlefield and what Ukraine [needs in terms of] capabilities to be able to succeed on the battlefield,” said Sullivan.
“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,” he said.