Biden marks 1 year of war in Ukraine with major speech in Poland: “Kyiv stands strong”

gettyimages 1247352502.jpg
gettyimages 1247352502.jpg

President Biden hailed Ukraine’s continued resilience against Russian aggression as a triumph of democracy over autocracy and reiterated Western allies’ commitment to supporting Kyiv, delivering a major speech in Poland ahead of the one-year mark of Russia’s invasion.

“One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv. Well, I’ve just come from a visit to Kyiv, and I can report, Kyiv stands strong. Kyiv stands proud. It stands tall. And most important, it stands free,” Mr. Biden said Tuesday to applause from 30,000 onlookers waving Polish, U.S. and Ukrainian flags in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. His remarks came one day after he made a secret visit by train to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Special Report: Biden marks 1 year of war in Ukraine with speech in Poland vowing support


In Warsaw,  the president framed the ongoing conflict as a test of the ability of the world’s democracies to counter the rise of autocratic strongmen, a theme that has colored of his approach to foreign policy throughout his time in the White House. He said Western allies “will not waver” in their support for Kyiv.

“When Russia invaded, it wasn’t just Ukraine being tested,” he continued. “The whole world faced the test for the ages. Europe was being tested. America was being tested. NATO was being tested. All democracies were being tested. And the questions we faced were as simple as they were profound. Would we respond or would we look the other way? Would we be strong or would we be weak? Would we, all of our allies, be united or divided? 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.” 

President Biden delivers a speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on Feb. 21, 2023.
President Biden delivers a speech in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on Feb. 21, 2023.


Mr. Biden has made rallying NATO allies to support Ukraine a central priority since Russian tanks rolled into the country on Feb. 24, 2022, insisting the conflict isn’t just about the future of Ukraine, but the future of democracy and the world. The world is seeing once again what the people of Poland and Europe saw for decades of Soviet rule, Mr. Biden said: “Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased. They must be opposed. Autocrats only understand one word: No. No. No.”

The president railed against Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he said was solely responsible for the continued fighting in Ukraine.

“President Putin is confronted with something today that he didn’t think was possible a year ago. The democracies of the world have grown stronger, not weaker. But the autocrats in the world have gotten weaker, not stronger,” he said. “This war was never a necessity. It’s a tragedy. President Putin chose this war. Every day this war continues is his choice.”

The speech came just hours after Putin announced Russia was suspending its participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S. and falsely claimed the West “started the war” in Ukraine.

Mr. Biden addressed those comments directly and said Western allies “do not seek to control or destroy Russia — the West was not plotting to attack Russia, as Putin said today.” He said the war in Ukraine “will never be a victory for Russia — never.”

President Biden delivers a speech in front of the Royal Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Feb. 21, 2023.
President Biden delivers a speech in front of the Royal Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Feb. 21, 2023.

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ahead of Mr. Biden’s speech, Polish President Andrzej Duda took the podium to express solidarity with Ukraine, saying: “Long live free Ukraine, long live the alliance of the Republic of Poland with the United States.” Poland, a NATO member, has sent billions of dollars’ worth of arms and equipment to Ukraine and welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees.

“I believe that this brutal Russian assertiveness will be punished and crushed in Ukraine,” Duda said through a translator. “That Russia will have to leave Ukrainian land with shame, the land which it is occupying, that Ukraine will win, that the defenders of Ukraine will prevail. That this spilled blood, that this horrible sacrifice which is being paid by the Ukrainian nation, will bear fruits of a grand victory.” 

In a meeting between the two leaders earlier Tuesday, Duda thanked Mr. Biden for visiting Ukraine, saying it sent a very strong message. In turn, the U.S. president thanked Duda and Poland for all the work the country had done to promote security in the region and for accepting Ukrainians fleeing the fighting. 

“The truth of the matter is, the United States needs Poland and NATO as much as NATO needs the United States, because there is no way in which — for our ability to operate anywhere else in the world, and our responsibilities extend beyond Europe, we have to have security in Europe,” Mr. Biden said during their meeting. “It’s that basic, that simple, that consequential. And so, it’s the single-most consequential alliance, and I would argue maybe the most consequential alliance in history. Not just modern history, but in history.”

Sara Cook contributed reporting.

Previous articleStart a gardening hobby with this top-rated app, on sale for President’s Day
Next articleOctopath Traveler 2 Review: a jrpg that looks at the classics, and it works!
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise