President Biden Makes Surprise Visit To Kyiv, Meets With President Zelensky
[guest post by Dana]
What a surprise, and a fine one at that. Rather than meeting with President Zelensky someone on the border with Poland or skipping it altogether, President Biden met with Ukraine’s president in the capital city of Kyiv, thus sending a message to the world – and especially to Vladimir Putin – that the United States will continue to support Ukraine in its battle to defeat Russia. This is especially notable given that there was obviously a real risk in the visit (as the AP informs us: The U.S. president traveling to a conflict zone where the U.S. or its allies do not have control over the airspace and on top of that, our only military presence in Ukraine is just a small detachment of Marines guarding the embassy in Kyiv).
As the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I am in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong.
Today, in Kyiv, I am meeting with President Zelenskyy and his team for an extended discussion on our support for Ukraine. 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. 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. Over the last year, the United States has built a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific to help defend Ukraine with unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support – and that support will endure.
President Zelensky’s Twitter feed has a nice video of the welcome and introductions:
Historic. Timely. Brave. I welcomed @POTUS in Kyiv as Russian full-scale aggression approaches its one-year mark. I am thankful to the U.S. for standing with Ukraine and for our strong partnership. We are determined to work together to ensure Ukraine’s victory. pic.twitter.com/EPtH3fLWWD
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 20, 2023
Details of the discussion between presidents about continued aid and weapons from the U.S.:
In Kyiv, Biden announced an additional half-billion dollars in U.S. assistance — on top of the more than $50 billion already provided — for shells for howitzers, anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radars and other aid but no new advanced weaponry.
Ukraine has also been pushing for battlefield systems that would allow its forces to strike Russian targets that have been moved back from frontline areas, out of the range of HIMARS missiles that have already been delivered. Zelenskyy said he and Biden spoke about “long-range weapons and the weapons that may still be supplied to Ukraine even though it wasn’t supplied before.” But he did not detail any new commitments.
So how did Russia react to President Biden’s visit to Kyiv? Although Moscow was notified in advance of Biden’s impending visit ( “for deconfliction purposes” ), they were less than happy about being deeply humiliated before the world:
Meanwhile in Russia: lots of long faces in the studio. pic.twitter.com/HRyNFU03pq
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) February 20, 2023
I’m glad that President Biden made the journey to Kyiv before his meeting with President Duda of Poland. His presence in the capital city standing next to President Zelensky sent a powerful statement to the world that U.S. support for Ukraine has not and will not waver as they wage a brave battle to drive out the invaders. Also, I can only imagine what a major morale booster it was for Ukrainian troops and for the Ukrainian people as well. With that, we’ll have to wait and see if the U.S. will opt to provide Ukraine with the much-needed modern fighter jets that President Zelensky has requested. EU members are considering sending them to Ukraine, and Italy has said it is prepared to “send up to five fighter jets to Ukraine if other Western allies start doing so,” they just don’t want to be the first ally to send them “for political reasons.”
Good morning.Dana (1225fc) — 2/20/2023 @ 8:34 am
Eastern Europe will remember who stood with them, and who rolled tanks to crush them. Putin wants to recreate the USSR but all he’s managed to recreate is the hatred of Russia in Eastern Europe.Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/20/2023 @ 8:49 am
Thank you, Mr. President!
Back when I voted for you, I only thought that Kamala was a small price to pay to get the Trump Crime Family out of the White House. But with Ukraine alone, you have more than exceeded my expectations.nk (c758b1) — 2/20/2023 @ 9:18 am
Biden risks life and limb to go to war-torn Kyiv and all he gets is a stinking tile.Paul Montagu (8f0dc7) — 2/20/2023 @ 9:29 am
Heh. Marge weighs in:Dana (1225fc) — 2/20/2023 @ 9:46 am
Biden and Zelensky have gotten less worried about travelling to and from Kyiv, because the air defenses and detection are good enough to protect very important targets almost toa certainty, while meanwhile Vladimir Putin is no longer using his presidential airplane for fear it might get shot down – even in Russia – and travels by train with an unannounced route.Sammy Finkelman (fac163) — 2/20/2023 @ 9:47 am
Zelensky went to Munich the other day in person. And, not so long ago, to Washington, D.C. and London. Earlier he had only taken part in meetings via videoconference, and after aa while, his wife went places.
Biden has wanted to go to Kyiv, or at least into Ukraine, for some time now. Early in the war he let a trip like that be vetoed by his security people, but now it is like President Bush’s (W) Obama;s and Trump’s visits to a war zone in Afghanistan and Iraq – kept secret till it’s over, but done,Sammy Finkelman (fac163) — 2/20/2023 @ 9:57 am
If Moscow was notified (and probably given only an approximate timeframe) that means they have calculated that Moscow is afraid of escalation, or at least the consequences of attempting to down Air Force One.
They’ve seen this sort of thing before with visits by Boris Johnson, for instance.
President Biden in fact, we can say, may have been acting as a (temporary) human shield, at least for civilians and civilian infrastructure in Kyiv.Sammy Finkelman (fac163) — 2/20/2023 @ 10:11 am
Something the West failed to do in:
1953-East German Uprising
1968-Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
And failing to support various partisan operations in the 1950s and 1960s.Rip Murdock (d3505f) — 2/20/2023 @ 10:13 am
MTG is jealous that Zelensky looks better in a sweater than she does. And if there ever was a candidate for Nikki Haley’s mental competency test ….nk (c758b1) — 2/20/2023 @ 10:32 am
Russian Media Watch-Kyiv Visit Edition:Rip Murdock (d3505f) — 2/20/2023 @ 11:00 am
No kidding.Rip Murdock (d3505f) — 2/20/2023 @ 11:02 am
Crime Boss Theatre
Corrupt Crooks Confer; Tribute Paid.
Film at 11.
… and Jinping smiled.DCSCA (83487f) — 2/20/2023 @ 12:17 pm
Biden visits the only border he cares aboutJF (e6556b) — 2/20/2023 @ 12:20 pm
@14. Yep. A surprise visit by Bagman Biden to drop off borrowed bucks by train; but trainwrecks East Palestine, Ohio and America’s southern border… not so much. W/t Rooskies aware he was choo-chooing in, the air raid sirens were a quaint sfx touch for campaign commercials.
“Our government has abandoned us.” – resident, E. Palestine, OHDCSCA (83487f) — 2/20/2023 @ 12:32 pm
I heard Biden took the train from Poland and we used the deconfliction line to communicate what Biden was doing.
My hope would be that we told the Russians exactly what was going on because a train is fat target. Tell the Russians nicely that this isn’t the time to FAFO.
The Kremlin of course immediately used this as propaganda. America and NATO on the ground in Ukraine.
Last thought. Am of the opinion air raid siren was staged. They said a Russian plane took off from Belarus and a possible missile shot by that plane could have arrived in 20 minutes, but I’m pretty cynical due to our propensity for orchestrationsteveg (13fca3) — 2/20/2023 @ 1:04 pm
Re: Heads-Up to Russia:
TrumpWorld keeping it classy:
Rip Murdock (d3505f) — 2/20/2023 @ 1:22 pm
MTG criticizes bidens trip to ukraine says red states should secede from union. We tried that once it didn’t work to well and then those who didn’t want to secede were slaves not democrats who are half the population of those state. If you count those who are not voting more then half. Why is this not treason it was in 1861.asset (edcf7d) — 2/20/2023 @ 1:22 pm
MTG is neither levying war against the United States or giving aid and comfort to its enemies. She’s just being a blowhard.Rip Murdock (d3505f) — 2/20/2023 @ 1:40 pm
But with Ukraine alone, you have more than exceeded my expectations.
Biden is to Ukraine as Trump is to judges.
Other than that, it’s mostly terrible for both. The Bidens are not nearly as venal as the Trumps however.Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/20/2023 @ 2:43 pm
Biden risks life and limb to go to war-torn Kyiv and all he gets is a stinking tile.
Hey, Trump has one tooKevin M (1ea396) — 2/20/2023 @ 2:46 pm
Something the West failed to do in:
Indeed, but there was no doubt that the West stood with them. The Hungarians may have been expecting NATO intervention, and if we planted that, it’s our bad. But when it came to Berlin, we did step up and made it clear it was a red line, and again in Cuba. The economic blockade of “containment” doomed the USSR to eventual defeat, something that Nixon hastened by enticing the Chinese towards the West.Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/20/2023 @ 2:50 pm
explaining that his death would have bad consequences for Russia.
Consequences controlled only by the wisdom and level-headedness of President Harris.Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/20/2023 @ 2:52 pm
Why is this not treason it was in 1861.
“Secession” was not “treason.” Using force of arms against the United States was. Presumably they could have taken their secession case to the courts.Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/20/2023 @ 2:55 pm
@16. Am of the opinion air raid siren was staged.
Agree. Stagecraft. The non-reaction by the entourage in video on the ground was quite the tell– nobody even looked up. And given the Poopagon balloon befuddlements, threat assessments of late are characteristically ‘overblown.’ 😉DCSCA (e7e508) — 2/20/2023 @ 3:08 pm
@22. In the short term it was a clever, strategic play by The Big Dick in that era and merits praise– but he was aware of the long term problem arising from it:
Too bad such a brilliant mind turned out, in the end, to be a genuine ‘dick.’DCSCA (e7e508) — 2/20/2023 @ 3:15 pm
Putin is afraid to travel by air in Russia? That is prudent. Russians have shot down several of their own aircraft. During drone attacks inside Russian airspace, the Russians often do more damage than the drone.steveg (c7a1d1) — 2/20/2023 @ 3:52 pm
Off topic but too rich not to share. George Santos ditched Don Lemon interview due to sexism and misogyny- says Daily Mail. I laughed out loudsteveg (c7a1d1) — 2/20/2023 @ 3:56 pm
Russian Media Watch-Kyiv Visit Edition II:Rip Murdock (d3505f) — 2/20/2023 @ 4:17 pm
Link to post 29.Rip Murdock (d3505f) — 2/20/2023 @ 4:18 pm
8. I had the logistics of this all wrong. Biden did not travel on Air Force One or aa plane designated Air Force one and he traveled rom Poland to Kyiv by train (which is, I think, the way every western leader or politician who traveled to Kyiv has done sincce the war began. I think also his presence was announced while he was there, but I did not, so far, hear a news report saying so specifically.
The planning for this went on for months, and was very tightly held.
President Biden left the White House at 3:30 am Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, with no fanfare and traveled what is now called Joint Base Andrews, He then got on a 757, not the usual 747, which was designated Special Air Mission 60 and took off at 4:15 am Sunday EST. Or maybe it was a C-32.
It landed in Germany, where it refueled and turned off its transponder and then took off again and landed in Poland. At 10 pm (what time zone?) he got on an 8-car train that travelled through Ukraine to Kyiv. At some point the Russians were told something.
Maybe just that it was a train carrying weapons and personnel because maybe there’s a standing agreement with Russia that they are nit going to attempt to bomb these trains, in exchange for which the United States and NATO does not engage any of its own planes or missiles,
President Biden talked with Zelensky for about two hours and promised stuff and maybe delivered stuff on that train.
Biden iss now in Warsaw, Poland.Sammy Finkelman (d082d9) — 2/20/2023 @ 4:25 pm
The air raid siren was because a Russian plane was detected taking off from Belarua. These sirens apparently go off all the time.Sammy Finkelman (d082d9) — 2/20/2023 @ 4:30 pm
Russian Media Watch-Kyiv Visit Edition III:Rip Murdock (d3505f) — 2/20/2023 @ 5:12 pm
From the “Rage Against the Machine” peace rally— um, your doing it wrongsteveg (42aa52) — 2/20/2023 @ 5:59 pm
@9. Something the West failed to do in:
1953-East German Uprising
1968-Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
Was living in Europe in August, 1968 when those tanks rolled into Prague. It’s easy, if not somewhat cavalier, to over simplify reacting to such events as they don’t occur in a vacuum and context is critical when trying to label responses as some sort of policy failure w/hindsight from 2023.
The scenario was quite different in ’68; a divided Germany w/a Berlin Wall in place; a tense standoff between NATO members at the time and the Warsaw Pact long in place w/defined spheres of influence– and w/respect to the U.S. proper, other, larger distractions faced LBJ as he pulled the plug on his presidency and it collapsed under the weight of the Vietnam War and civil unrest at home. Certainly Europe, particularly the French, West Germans and definitely the Brits, were aware of what was happening as, geographically, we were much closer to those tanks, unlike the United States, 3,000 away. The streets of London were near empty during the early days of the Soviet invasion that August– and newspapers along w/t BBC radio and limited television news, AFRadio and such kept us appraised– along w/friends stationed at AF bases outside London were placed on alert. Authorities were uncertain how it would end– which was not reassuring. But below is a reasonably accurate summary of events at the time, which matches personal memories- and is a rational analysis of why the West reacted as it did- particularly the U.S.. Still gives me a chill remembering those AFR and BBC newscasts– and seeing those empty city streets:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z9hnqhv/revision/1DCSCA (708440) — 2/20/2023 @ 6:35 pm
Biden risks life and limb to go to war-torn Kyiv and all he gets is a stinking tile.
Apropos; Bugs walks all over him.DCSCA (054bd7) — 2/21/2023 @ 7:58 am
I guess there’s another way to say: Escalate this, borscht-boy! The Presidential way. Putin’s putas hurt most.nk (5daf94) — 2/21/2023 @ 10:07 am
State of the art Russian anti air in Belgorod Russia. 8 for 8 defective missiles.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw7xWtdxrfI (Fast Forward to :40)
There is another video out there of a Pantsir launcher having some kind of failure where the vertical tubes ready to engage Ukrainian aircraft suddenly drop to horizontal and then fire over the video takers headsteveg (003a5a) — 2/21/2023 @ 1:17 pm
@38. Might want to start assessing Chinese systems of some sort; they’re likely going to appear soon.DCSCA (7c12ab) — 2/21/2023 @ 1:29 pm
Failure to Launch:Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/21/2023 @ 3:57 pm
They didn’t tell more details.
Only two journalists, Sabrina Siddiqui from The Wall Street Journal and Evan Vucci from The Associated Press, went along for the trip. Usually the poll consists of 13 reporters. Biden was quite charged up. He didn’t sleep all night.
He went out with his wife, Jill, t oa restaurant Saturday night, He left the White House at about 3:30, boarded the plane at about 4:00 AM EST r. Biden took off at 4:15 a.m. landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany at 5:13 p.m. local time, (Since it is 6 hours ahead that would be 11:29 am Eastern time, refueled and 6:29 p.m.
He then travelled on the train till 10 am local time (one time zone more ahead)
It became apparent in Kyiv, because streets were being blocked, that an important visitor was about to arrive. Things were broadcast but apparently President Biden’s location was not revealed in real time.Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 2/21/2023 @ 4:40 pm
The C-32 and the Boeing 757 are the same plane.
https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104518/c-32/Sammy Finkelman (1d215a) — 2/21/2023 @ 4:41 pm
DeSantis on Ukraine:Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/22/2023 @ 12:33 am
Nikki Haley on Ukraine:Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/22/2023 @ 12:33 am
@43/@44. Your hero, The Big Dick, foresaw the risks to the U.S. and the West of a Eurasian Alliance between China and Russia developing once the wedge of the Cold War was removed.
‘The end of the Cold War, however, removed the common threat that produced the improved Sino-American relationship in the first place. Nixon knew of course, like Britain’s Lord Palmerston, that permanent alliances and permanent enmities were not part of the real world of global politics. He was too much of a hard-headed and sensible realist to believe in “perpetual peace” or “the end of history.” Nixon’s hope that shared economic interests would cause good relations between China and the U.S. to continue was shattered. Today the powerful China that Nixon foresaw is a reality – but is viewed more an enemy than an ally of the United States.’ – https://thediplomat.com/2022/02/nixon-and-china-50-years-later/
Quite insightful on such issues, yet a mind cluttered by such self-destructive pettiness. Pity.DCSCA (520b1c) — 2/22/2023 @ 1:37 am
As someone who served with distinction as UN Ambassador, Haley knows Foreign Relations. DeSantis might know his cousins in Campania.nk (bd7a2f) — 2/22/2023 @ 7:23 am
Here’s the Big Dick on JFK’s prposed Cuban policy in 1960. It’s actually quite prescient:
I agree with your asessment of Nixon. Don’t quite have your respect for JFK.Appalled (82ee61) — 2/22/2023 @ 8:09 am
Is Trump then Nixon without the insight?AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 2/22/2023 @ 8:39 am
Trump is Nixon without the brains, and without the Nixon’s moral compass. After all, Nixon knew that the cover-up “would be wrong.”
Shorter: Trump is resentment on legs.Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/22/2023 @ 8:52 am
Finger to the wind.Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 2/22/2023 @ 9:14 am
@49. Trump is Nixon without the brains, and without the Nixon’s moral compass
ROFLMAOPIP Clearly you’ve never listened to the ‘expletive deleted’ Nixon tapes.
‘[Bob] Woodward gave Richard Nixon “lower than an F” for his moral and ethical leadership, describing his criminality and abuse of power as “staggering.” He recalled the day Nixon resigned, when the president said, “Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.” Woodward said, “Nixon practiced hating, and it destroyed him. It was the poison of the Nixon presidency.”
Seven Revealing Nixon Quotes From His Secret Tapes
The Untapped Secrets of the Nixon Tapes
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/07/the-untapped-wealth-of-secrets-in-the-nixon-tapes/374868/DCSCA (b21cf7) — 2/22/2023 @ 9:27 am
President Biden speaks almost entirely only about preventing a Ukrainian defeat – not of achieving a Ukrainian victory. Although he said Putin could end this war with a word.Sammy Finkelman (02a146) — 2/22/2023 @ 2:13 pm
Atlantic: The War in Ukraine Is the End of a World (outside the paywall)
Well worth reading. He reminds me strongly of the day in 1989 I spent walking along the Berlin Wall and looking over the barbed wire at Checkpoint Charlie, and the day a fe months later when it started to come down. Such despair, followed by hope, now back to despair.Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/23/2023 @ 5:57 pm