US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday, amid heightened tensions between the country and neighboring Russia. Biden’s five-hour visit was seen as a show of support for Ukraine’s government, which has been fighting a war against Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donbas region since 2014.
Biden’s trip came as Russia had amassed tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s border, sparking fears of a possible invasion. However, Russia did not make any military moves during Biden’s visit, which was seen as a positive sign by Ukrainian officials.
During his visit, Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials, including Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. The talks focused on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO and the European Union.
In a joint statement, Biden and Zelensky reaffirmed their commitment to “strategic partnership” and “shared values,” and pledged to work together to promote democracy, security, and prosperity in the region.
Biden also announced a new package of US military aid to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles and other weapons, as well as additional economic and humanitarian assistance. The aid is seen as a boost to Ukraine’s military capabilities, which have been outmatched by the Russian-backed separatists.
The visit was seen as a risky move by Biden, given the escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia. However, Biden’s team had been planning the visit for weeks, and reportedly felt it was important to show support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
The visit also comes at a time of strained relations between the US and Russia, with the two countries trading accusations over a range of issues, including election interference, cyberattacks, and human rights abuses. Biden has been pushing for a more assertive stance against Russia, and has imposed sanctions and other measures in response to what he calls Russian “aggression.”
Despite the tensions, Biden said he was “hopeful” that the US and Russia could find common ground on some issues, and called for “stable, predictable relations” between the two countries. However, the situation in Ukraine remains a major source of tension, and it is unclear whether Russia will continue to hold its fire in the coming days and weeks.