After an unprecedented visit to Ukraine, President Joe Biden told a Warsaw crowd that "brutality will never grind down the will of a free Ukraine. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia. Never."
Biden spoke in Poland just days before the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The action is the largest land war in Europe since the end of World War II. The United States and its NATO allies have united to defend NATO territory and support Ukraine as it battles to ensure its own survival.
In February 2022 many expected Ukraine to fall quickly to the Russian onslaught. The Russians had more forces and more equipment. Putin launched the forces in attacks designed to decapitate the leadership of Ukraine by taking the capital city of Kyiv.
Experts expected Kyiv to fall quickly. "Well, I've just come from a visit to Kyiv and I can report Kyiv stands strong," Biden said in Warsaw. "Kyiv stands proud, it stands tall and, most importantly, stands free."
The president said Ukraine has been tested by the Russian invasion, but it isn't the only nation being tested. "The whole world faced a test for the ages," he said. "Europe was being tested. America was being tested, NATO is being tested, all democracies are being tested."
The test entailed how these world leaders would respond to Russia's aggression. Would they be united or fragmented? Would they be strong or weak? "One year later, we know the answer: We did respond. We would be strong. We would be united. And the world would not look the other way," Biden said.
It's simple. If Russia stopped invading Ukraine, it would end the war. If Ukraine stopped defending itself against Russia, it would be the end of Ukraine. That's why together, we're making sure Ukraine could defend itself."
President Joe Biden
Putin has misjudged almost everything about the invasion of Ukraine. "He thought NATO would fracture, [and] divide," Biden said. "Instead, NATO is more united and more unified … than ever before." In fact, Putin's invasion caused Sweden and Finland to join the alliance.
"One year into this war, Putin no longer doubts the strength of our coalition," the president said. "But he still doubts our conviction. He doubts our staying power. He doubts our continued support for Ukraine. He doubts whether NATO can remain unified. But there should be no doubt: Our support for Ukraine will not waver. NATO will not be divided, and we will not tire."
The world must remain united in its condemnation of the Russian invasion. Biden said that autocrats cannot be appeased but opposed. "Autocrats only understand one word — no, no, no," he said. "No, you will not take my country. No, you will not take my freedom. No, you will not take my future."
Biden has called the Russian invasion "an unprovoked war." Others have called it an "unnecessary conflict." The president said it was never a necessity, "It's a tragedy. President Putin chose this war. Every day that the war continues is his choice. He could end the war with a word.
"It's simple," he continued. "If Russia stopped invading Ukraine, it would end the war. If Ukraine stopped defending itself against Russia, it would be the end of Ukraine. That's why together, we're making sure Ukraine could defend itself."
The United States has assembled a worldwide coalition of more than 50 nations to get critical weapons and supplies to Ukraine. The Ukraine Defense Contact Group meets to ensure Ukrainian fighters get what they need when it will be the most beneficial. This effort includes equipment, but also the training needed to make that equipment effective.
Biden praised the nations involved saying they have provided air defense systems. Artillery, anti-armor weapons, ammunition and more. "The European Union, and its member states, have stepped up with an unprecedented commitment to Ukraine, not just security assistance, but economic and humanitarian refugee assistance and so much more," he said.
Russia is under sanctions and more will be announced, Biden said. "We'll hold accountable those who are responsible for this war and will seek justice for the war crimes and crimes against humanity continuing to be committed by the Russians," he said.
The president is clear-eyed about the commitment to Ukraine. "The defense of freedom is not the work of a day or a year," he said. "It's always difficult. It's always important. As Ukraine continues to defend itself against the Russian onslaught and launch counter offensives of its own, there will continue to be hard and very bitter days, victories and tragedies."
The president spoke to the people of Russia assuring them that the United States and the nations of Europe did not seek this war, nor do they seek to destroy or control Russia. "The West was not plotting to attack Russia, as Putin said today," he said. "And millions of Russian citizens who only want to live in peace with their neighbors are not the enemy."