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Biden asserts U.S. support for Ukraine ‘will not waver’

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The moment also reflected just how much had changed since the last time Biden spoke in that same palace complex in Poland, almost exactly 12 months ago and just days after Putin ordered his forces to cross the Ukrainian border and plunge Europe into war. Though the war shows no signs of abating, with months of carnage likely ahead, Biden stressed that Putin has already failed in his objective to seize Ukraine.

“One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv,” Biden said, “and I can report that Kyiv stands strong, it stands proud and it stands free.”

Nearly a year ago, Biden used his speech to convince European allies that helping Kyiv was not a futile exercise, imploring democracies to rally together and stand up to Putin’s militant authoritarianism. His message then was somber and grim, reflecting the uncertainty about Ukraine’s ability to repel a much larger foe. Though Putin’s initial lunge at Kyiv had failed, there was a sense among military experts on both sides of the Atlantic that Russia would, soon enough, simply overwhelm Ukraine.

That is no longer the case. Ukraine has held, having pushed the front back to the eastern and southern edges of the country. Led by Washington, the West has stayed in lockstep and funneled weapons and money to Kyiv, dealing one humiliating military setback after another to Moscow.

“When Russia invaded, it wasn’t just Ukraine being tested. The whole world faced a test for the ages,” Biden said. “Europe was being tested. America was being tested. NATO’s is being tested. All democracies are being tested. And the questions we face are as simple as they re profound: Would we respond, or would we look the other way?”

“One year later, we know the answer,” he said. “We did respond. We would be strong, we would be united, and the world would not look the other way.”

The atmosphere in Kubicki Arcades, part of Warsaw’s Royal Castle complex, reflected the change. In a moment that would have been unthinkable a year ago, the speech environment felt similar to a NATO pep rally. Flags from Ukraine, Poland and the U.S. lined the venue. Blue and yellow lights projected on the surroundings and an upbeat soundtrack — including Bruce Springsteen and Twisted Sister — blared in the hours before Biden spoke.

A year ago, Biden spoke in Poland at the palace in an almost-funereal atmosphere after he held a somber meeting with Ukrainian refugees. This time, Biden arrived on the heels of his surprise visit to Kyiv. There, the president — wearing his trademark aviators — defiantly strutted with his Ukrainian counterpart through downtown in broad daylight, underscoring Putin’s inability to reach the capital.

Putin had thought he would capture Kyiv in days. Instead, he spent Tuesday offering a split screen — delivering a major speech in Moscow just hours before Biden spoke in Poland. The Russian leader offered his usual bluster about his war and again falsely claimed that NATO had been the aggressor, but his power seemed diminished, his threats hollow.

Putin spoke in front of a bored-looking audience of Russian elites while Biden spoke in front of thousands, who cheered loudly at mentions of NATO. Though Putin was widely expected to use the one-year mark of the war, which is this week, to announce a major escalation of the fight, all he did Tuesday was announce that Russia would suspend its participation in a nuclear treat that it largely already ignored.

Biden returned to Poland, a nation that knows all too well the fight for democracy against larger oppressors, to declare that the conflict’s “principles and the stakes are eternal.” He thanked Poland for supporting the war effort and opening their arms to scores of Ukrainian refugees who streamed across the border seeking shelter and safety.

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( With inputs from : www.politico.com )

AdminTNC

TheNewsCaravan News Desk

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