US President Joe Biden vowed today that Ukraine "will never" be a victory for Russia and praised Kiev's resistance, which "is still standing" a year after the start of the Russian invasion, the anniversary of which is 24 November.
"Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia," Biden told hundreds of people during a long-awaited speech in the gardens of Warsaw's former royal castle.
#Biden: “President Putin's craven lust for land and power will fail, and the Ukrainian people's love for their country will prevail. Democracies of the world will stand guard of our freedoms today, tomorrow, and forever.”— KyivPost (@KyivPost) February 21, 2023
?: CNN pic.twitter.com/dSSBYxuRgL
Biden, who made a highly symbolic visit to Kiev on Monday, said he could testify that Ukraine's capital "is still standing" despite Russian armed forces trying to conquer it at the start of the war in an unsuccessful offensive.
"A year after the bombs started falling and a year after Russian tanks entered Ukraine, the country is still independent and free today. From Kherson to Kiev, that land has been reclaimed," Biden said.
The US president put the war in Ukraine in a broader context: he alluded to the values of sovereignty in the global liberal order created after World War II and saw the conflict as highlighting the struggle between democracies and autocracies in the world.
"We are seeing again today what the people of Poland and people all over Europe have experienced for decades, the hunger of the autocrats cannot be satiated, it must be opposed. And the autocrats understand only one word: no, no, no. You will not take my country, you will not take my freedom, you will not take my future," Biden cried out.
One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv.— President Biden (@POTUS) February 21, 2023
I just visited – and I can report that Kyiv stands strong. Kyiv stands proud and tall.
And most importantly, Kyiv stands free.
He acknowledged, however, that there would be "hard and bitter" days in the remainder of the war, but assured that the US would continue to support Ukraine and reaffirmed its commitment to NATO, mentioning especially article 5 on mutual defence in its founding treaty.
Biden also announced that the United States will host next year's NATO summit.
The castle where Biden delivered his speech was one of the sites of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against Nazi Germany, which was then occupying the country. The building was decorated with multiple American, Polish and Ukrainian flags, as well as being illuminated in yellow and blue, the colours of Ukraine.
Among the crowd were Polish citizens and Ukrainian refugees, who despite the cold and hours of waiting waved small flags of their countries and of the United States as they listened to Biden speak.