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Biden, In Kyiv Ahead Of War Anniversary, Vows Support As Long As Needed



PARIS, France - U.S. President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday, promising President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Washington would stand with Ukraine as long as it takes, in a strong show of support ahead of the war's one-year anniversary.


Sirens blared across the Ukrainian capital as he was there, though there were no reports of Russian missile or air strikes.


''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'', Biden said, praising Ukrainians for their bravery in resisting Russia's invasion.


''The cost that Ukraine has had to pay is extraordinary high. Sacrifices have been far too great...We know that there will be difficult days and weeks and years ahead''.


The U.S. president promised a further $500 million worth of weaponry, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems and air defence radars, plus tighter sanctions on Russia.


Zelenskiy told Biden his visit was ''an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians''.


The visit came a day before President Vladimir Putin was due to make a major address, expected to set out Russia's aims for the second year of what he now calls a proxy war against the armed might of the West.


''Of course, for the Kremlin, this will be seen as further proof that the United States has bet on Russia's strategic defeat in the war and that the war itself has turned irrevocably into a war between Russia and the West'', said Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst.


''Tomorrow's address was expected to be very hawkish, targeted at a demonstrative rupture of relations with the West. Now additional edits could be introduced to make it even tougher''.

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