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Biden visits Kyiv

Monday, 20 February 2023, 10:51
Biden visits Kyiv

US President Joseph Biden is on an official visit to Kyiv on 20 February.

Source: Photos and videos taken by eyewitnesses; President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Telegram; Washington Post; New York Times; Andrii Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, on Telegram  

Details: Biden was noticed near St Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv. As an air-raid siren sounded, the US President paid tribute to the fallen defenders of Ukraine. 

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Later, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy officially confirmed Biden's visit to Kyiv by posting a photo with him on his Telegram channel. 

Quote from Zelenskyy: "Joseph Biden, welcome to Kyiv! Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians."

 

The Washington Post has called Biden’s visit "an unexpected, dramatic and high-risk" one.  

Quote from Washington Post: "President Biden made a dramatic, unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday, in a display of strong American support for Ukraine just four days before the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The high-risk visit, to a Ukrainian capital that has been under threat of missile attacks, signals continued commitment from the United States, the largest financial and military backer of Ukraine’s effort to repel Russian invaders from its territory."

The news outlet has pointed out that a heightened security mode is being implemented in the capital of Ukraine; car traffic was stopped and even pedestrians could not get to some streets. 

Shortly after this, an air-raid siren sounded in the city. Sirens have been sounded all over Ukraine now. 

The New York Times has reported that Biden travelled to Kyiv by train. The visit was secret due to security reasons. 

Andrii Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, has called Biden's visit "strategic". 

Quote from Yermak: "Believe me, Joe Biden's visit is strategic. A lot of matters are being resolved and those that are still pending will be accelerated, as well. 

Our common goal is Ukraine's victory over Russia and the triumph of Ukrainian warriors and Western weapons."

 

Background: On the morning of 20 February in Kyiv, the streets in the city centre, near the US embassy, as well as the roads from the embassy to the central railway station, were blocked.

Donbas News reported, referring to eyewitnesses, that Beresteyskyi (formerly Peremohy - ed.) Avenue and Lesya Ukrainka Boulevard were blocked in Kyiv. Eyewitnesses posted a video showing how a motorcade, consisting of American SUVs, drove along this route.

Neither Ukrainian nor American representatives of the authorities announced Biden's visit. These security measures are quite understandable in times of war. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reported that a visit from one of Ukraine's "key" Western partners is expected in Kyiv; the deputy minister promised a "surprise".

Earlier, it was reported that US President Joe Biden will visit neighbouring Poland on 20-22 February.

There were also rumours that during this trip, Joe Biden might meet with Ukrainian President of Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Poland during this trip.

In late January, John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communication of the National Security Council of the White House, stated that the US president had not abandoned the idea of visiting Ukraine but that there were no plans to do so. At the same time, the media reported that Biden was considering a visit to Europe to support Ukraine on the anniversary of the invasion.

It was also reported that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Maloni would arrive in Ukraine on 21 February. A meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is planned as part of the visit.

On 20 February, Ukraine celebrates the Day of Remembrance of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, the sorrowful anniversary of the shootings of peaceful protesters by the regime of fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych in the winter of 2014. From 18 February to 21 February 2014, security forces and unarmed protesters clashed violently. But on 20 February, the largest number of Maidan activists died: 47 people.

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