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Biden Promises Another $ 500 Million in Military Aid at Surprise Visit to Ukraine

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: February 22, 2023
Biden poses with Zelenskiy and his wife outside the Mariinsky Palace in Kiev, Ukraine, during an unannounced visit on Feb. 20.
U.S. President Joe Biden (center) poses with Ukrainian President Volodomy Zelenskiy (right) and his wife, Olena Zelenska, outside the Mariinsky Palace in Kiev, Ukraine, during an unannounced visit Biden made on Feb. 20. Biden promised to stick till the end to Ukraine and granted another bipartisan fistful of $500 Million to spend on warfare to ward off the Russian invasion which is going into its second year. (video still/2023 Thomson Reuters)

U.S. President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kiev on Feb. 20 on the eve of the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, promising another $500 million in military aid.

Biden, in aviator sunglasses, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who wore green fatigues, visited St Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral in central Kiev during Biden’s first visit to Ukraine since the start of the war.

This visit is notable in that the Ukrainian capital has frequently been the target of Russian missile strikes and, early on in the conflict, was directly besieged by invading ground forces.

On top of the new aid, Biden announced tighter sanctions would be imposed on Russia. 

“Later this week, we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade sanctions and backfill Russia’s war machine,” Biden said at the joint press conference in the afternoon.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskiy exchange a hug during their morning walk through the city center of Kiev on Biden’s unannounced visit to the Ukrainian capital on Feb. 20 (video still/2023 Thomson Reuters)

“And thanks to bipartisan support in Congress, this week we’re delivering billions in direct budgetary support,” Biden added.

The trip happened a day prior to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s planned major address to the nation in which he was to set out his plans for the second year of what Moscow terms a “special military operation.”

‘Alley of bravery’

Ukraine honored Biden with a plaque on the ‘Alley of Bravery,’ which is a collection of plaques with names of politicians and public figures who came to support Ukraine during its most trying times.

The Biden administration’s generosity toward Zelenskiy and beleaguered Ukraine includes artillery shells, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars.

“Together, we’ve committed nearly 700 tanks and thousands of armored vehicles, 1000 artillery systems, more than 2 million rounds of artillery ammunition, more than 50 advanced launch rocket systems, anti-ship, and air defense systems all defend you, to defend Ukraine,” Biden said.

“And that doesn’t count the other half a billion dollars we’re going to be, we’re announcing with you today and tomorrow, that’s going to be coming your way,” he added.

Officials in Washington and Moscow affirmed that Russia was informed prior to Biden’s departure, ostensibly to reduce the possibility of an attack on Kiev while he was there.

Historic mission

Zelenskiy, in turn, thanked President Biden for his generosity and assured the U.S. tax-payer money was well spent.

“Today, we also discussed the issue of long-range weapons and the weapons that can be supplied to Ukraine, which were not there before, and this is very important, the Ukrainian leader said. 

“Mr. President, I know that a powerful package of defense support for Ukraine is expected,” Zelenskiy continued. “Right now, such a significant package is a clear signal that Russian attempts at revenge will not stand a chance.”

“We can and must make this year, 2023, the year of victory,” he went on. “And I want to emphasize that this unprovoked and criminal Russian war against Ukraine, the whole of Europe, and the democratic world must end with the clearing of all Ukrainian land from Russian occupation and firm guarantees of long-term security for both our country and the whole Europe and the whole world.”


According to Zelenskiy, the current conflict is historic, and even the fate of democracy as a whole and the freedom of humanity is at stake.

“Right now and exactly in Ukraine, the fate of the international order based on the rules the rules-based world order is being decided,” Zelenskiy said. “And we, together with Mr. President Biden, with our allies, with our allied partners, must continue to do absolutely everything possible to ensure that the democratic world wins this historic battle.”

“Freedom is priceless. It is worth fighting for as long as it takes,” Biden added. “And that’s how long we’re going to be with you, Mr. President. For as long as it takes,” Biden told President Zelenskiy.

Reuters contributed to this article.