Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to give a speech on Tuesday to set out goals for the second year of his invasion of Ukraine, a day after US President Joe Biden moved to central Kiev and pledged to stand by Ukraine as long as possible.
After his surprise visit to Kiev, Biden will head to Poland and deliver a speech on Tuesday on how the United States has helped the world support Ukraine and stress US support for the eastern flank of NATO.
Biden, in his trademark aviator sunglasses, and President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a green combat outfit, walked alongside a gold-domed cathedral in Kiev on a bright winter Monday morning as air raid sirens sounded. got separated from
Biden said, “When (Russian President Vladimir) Putin launched his invasion about a year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could outrun us. But he was wrong.”
“The price Ukraine has had to pay is extraordinarily high. The sacrifices have been enormous. … We know the days and weeks and years ahead will be difficult.”
Outside the cathedral, burnt-out Russian tanks stand as a symbol of the failed assault on Moscow at the beginning of the invasion of the capital, which began on 24 February. Its army quickly reached the ramparts of Kiev—only to be driven back by unexpectedly fierce resistance. ,
Since then, Russia’s war has killed thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on both sides, turned cities into rubble, and driven millions of refugees. Russia says it has annexed nearly a fifth of Ukraine, while the West has pledged tens of billions of dollars in military aid to Kiev.
“This US President’s visit to Ukraine, the first for 15 years, is the most important in the entire history of Ukraine-US relations,” Zelensky said.
According to a White House pool report by Wall Street, Biden traveled to Ukraine’s capital on an overnight train from Poland at 8 a.m. Monday after nearly 10 hours, before returning there the same way at 1 p.m. (11:00 p.m.). GMT). Journal reporter.
Biden arrived in Warsaw late Monday, where he is scheduled to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda the next day along with other leaders of countries on the eastern side of NATO.
While Biden was in Kiev, the State Department announced a further $460 million in US aid to Ukraine, including $450 million worth of artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems and air defense radars, and $10 million for energy infrastructure. dollars included.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the union would approve more sanctions ahead of the anniversary of the conflict, which Russia says is a “special military operation” to defend Russian sovereignty.
Officials in Washington and Moscow said Russia was informed ahead of Biden’s departure, apparently to avoid the risk of an attack on Kiev while he was there.
“Surely this will be seen as further evidence for the Kremlin that the United States has bet on Russia’s strategic defeat in the war and that the war has irreversibly turned into a war between Russia and the West,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst.
Putin will update Russia’s political and military elite on the Ukraine conflict, its biggest confrontation with the West since the depths of the Cold War, in a speech to members of both houses of parliament on Tuesday.
The Kremlin said it would also give its own analysis of the international situation and outline its vision for Russia’s development after the West imposed sweeping sanctions on it.
The speech is due to begin at 0900 GMT in central Moscow.
Russia has sent thousands of troops into Ukraine for a winter offensive, but has so far made only modest gains in attacks in frozen trenches up and down the eastern front in recent weeks.
Kiev and the West see it as a push to come to power a year after Putin launched Europe’s biggest conflict since World War Two.
Moscow received its own signal of diplomatic support on Monday, with talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expected. Publicly, China has remained neutral on the conflict, despite signing a “no borders” friendship pact with Russia weeks before the invasion.
Washington has said in recent days that it is concerned that Beijing could begin supplying arms to Moscow. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the United States was “in no position to make demands of China”.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Monday called for a negotiated solution to the Ukraine war during a stop in Hungary before traveling to Moscow.
Ukraine says any diplomatic solution requires the withdrawal of Russian forces from its territory.
Russia is trying to gain full control over the two eastern provinces that make up Ukraine’s Donbas industrial region.
Kiev, which has been absorbing a large influx of Western arms for a planned counteroffensive in the coming months, has recently stuck mainly to defense on the battlefield, claiming that Russian forces The attack is taking heavy casualties.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russian casualties included two elite brigades of thousands of marines, possibly rendered “battle ineffective” by losses in failed attempts to attack Wuhledar.
“Political pressure on the Russian military is likely to increase as the anniversary of the invasion approaches,” it said, predicting that Moscow could claim to have captured Bakhmut regardless of the situation on the ground.
“If Russia’s spring offensive fails to achieve anything, tensions within the Russian leadership are likely to escalate.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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