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President Joe Biden makes surprise visit to Kyiv just days before one-year anniversary of Ukraine war

U.S. President Joe Biden on Feb. 16, 2023.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv, Ukraine Monday in a show of solidarity, nearly a year after Russia began its full-scale invasion of the country.

“Joseph Biden, welcome to Kyiv! Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram on Monday.

Biden said in a White House statement that he was meeting with Zelenskyy to “reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”

“I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments,” he added. “And I will share that later this week, we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine.”

The visit comes after a concerted show of international support from global leaders and politicians during the Munich Security Conference over recent days.

On Feb. 18, Biden’s second-in-command, Vice President Kamala Harris, announced that Washington had determined that Russia had committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, upgrading the U.S. administration’s March pronouncement that Moscow had committed war crimes.

Biden said Monday he will continue on to Poland, where he will meet President Andrzej Duda.

The latest round of U.S. sanctions will follow the EU’s tenth round of penalties against Russia for its war in Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last week that the sanctions will target exports worth 11 billion euros ($11.78 billion), dual use and advanced tech goods, as well as Russian propagandists. The latest EU package is subject to the approval of EU member countries.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Saturday expressed doubts to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble that financial repercussions will deter Putin, however.

“What we have seen is that Russia is actually willing to pay a hard price for this war,” he said.

“There are no signs that President Putin is preparing or planning for peace. He is preparing for more war, or new offensive, mobilizing more troops, setting the Russian economy on a war footing and also actually reaching out to other authoritarian regimes like North Korea and Iran to get more weapons.”

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