20 Feb 2023 13:42

Biden in Kiev for talks with Zelensky - White House

WASHINGTON. Feb 20 (Interfax) - U.S. President Joe Biden has arrived in Kiev for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky, the White House said in a statement on Monday.

"I am in Kiev today to meet with President Zelensky and reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine's democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity," the White House quoted Biden as saying.

Biden said he would have "a meeting with President Zelensky and his team for an extended discussion on our support for Ukraine."

In turn, Ukrainian media quoted Zelensky's statement.

"Joseph Biden, welcome to Kiev! Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians," Ukrainian media quoted Zelensky as saying on a social network.

Zelensky posted a joint photo with Biden on social media on Monday.

The White House said that Biden will announce a new package of military assistance to Ukraine while in Kiev, alongside additional sanctions against Russia to be announced later this week.

"I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars [...] And I will share that later this week, we will announce additional sanctions against [Russian] elites and companies," the statement on Biden's visit to Kiev quoted the U.S. president as saying.

The United States and a coalition of nations around the world intend to continue supporting Ukraine, Biden said later on Twitter.

"The United States has built a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific to help defend Ukraine with unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support - and that support will endure," the U.S. president said.

He added that he reaffirmed to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky "commitment to Ukraine's democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity."

The Ukrainian president's office said that Zelensky met with Biden at the Mariinsky Palace. After introducing members of the Ukrainian and U.S. delegations, the Ukrainian and U.S. presidents held a face-to-face meeting.

Zelensky said that Biden's visit was an important signal of support for Ukraine and Ukrainians, and emphasized that the U.S. president personally and American society have been with Ukraine since the beginning of the crisis. "The first phone call supporting Ukraine came from the White House. Thank you for your leadership. I also thank you for the bipartisan support, for the support of the Congress," Zelensky said.

Following negotiations with Biden, Zelensky said that Biden's visit to Kiev has been the most important one in the history of Ukrainian-American relations.

"The first visit by a [U.S.] president in the past 15 years, it has been the most important visit in the history of Ukrainian-American relations," Ukrainian media quoted Zelensky as saying.

"We have a common vision of the further developments and prospects," Zelensky said. "We also actually have a common vision of the essence of numerous items of the peace formula," he said.

It was reported earlier that Biden would visit Poland on February 20-22 for a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda and leaders of the Bucharest Nine - nine countries of the NATO eastern flank. The White House said that the planned visit to Poland remained on the table.

On February 21, the U.S. president will make a statement on the first anniversary of the special military operation in Ukraine.