US President Joe Biden arrived in Kyiv in a surprise visit on Monday, strolling through the center of the capital with President Zelensky as air raid sirens rang out across Ukraine.

Biden said a new military aid package worth $500 million to be announced on Tuesday will include more ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

"One year later, Kyiv stands. And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands," Biden said, speaking alongside Zelensky at the Ukrainian president's official residence, the Mariinsky Palace.

"America stands with you and the world stands with you. Kyiv has captured a part of my heart. I thought it was critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about U.S. support for Ukraine in the war."

Russian President Vladimir "Putin thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could outlast us," he added.


The U.S. president noted he'd visited Ukraine six times as vice-president, adding: "I knew I would be back."

"Joseph Biden, welcome to Kyiv! Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians," Zelensky said on Telegram.

The visit comes just a few days before Feb. 24, which marks one year since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Later on Monday it was reported that the Kremlin had been given a heads up to Moscow “hours” ahead of Biden’s “risky” surprise trip to avoid any chance of conflict, a senior White House aide said.

Biden Pledges Swift Weapons Delivery to Ukraine
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Biden Pledges Swift Weapons Delivery to Ukraine

The United States has been the chief military backer of Ukraine in its war against Russia, but Congress had not approved large-scale funding for its ally for nearly a year and a half.

The Ukrainian capital was in lock-down as security troops and police cordoned off sections of the Kyiv center.

Biden and Zelensky were filmed strolling through Mikhailovskaya Square in central Kyiv as air raid sirens rang out.

According to air defense statements, the warnings were triggered by the take-off of Russian fighter jets in neighboring Belarus, a regular late-morning occurrence.

Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko first confirmed the news in a tweet, saying: "Yes, confirmed @POTUS in #Kyiv.

"Welcome Mr President! Looking forward to the announcements following the air raid sirens experience."


It was announced that Biden had wrapped up his visit and left Kyiv around 2pm Ukraine time.

It was the first visit by a U.S. president to Ukraine in almost fifteen years, when George Bush visited in 2008.

Today is also a day of remembrance in Kyiv as Feb. 20 marks the Day of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes when Ukrainians remember those who were killed on this day in 2014 during the Revolution of Dignity.

As the Maidan Museum explains: “The participants of the Revolution of Dignity, who were killed by security officers and their mercenaries, received the name of the Heavenly Hundred. The official count of them is one hundred and seven.

“They were people of different nationalities, age groups, gender and educational background, from various  regions of Ukraine and from abroad, successful entrepreneurs and poor pensioners, scientists, artists, students, and activists.

 “The youngest one, Nazarii Voitovych, was sixteen. The oldest one, Ivan Nakonechnyi, was eighty-three.”

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