President Biden visits Poland

Joe Talerico, Contributing writer

President Joe Biden visited various European countries last week to reassure America’s allies as Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its second month.  

Biden’s tour began with a visit to Brussels on March 24. The Belgian capital hosts the NATO alliance’s headquarters and the European Council, the main body of the European Union. Besides visiting these two organizations, Biden also held a meeting with the G-7 countries.  

Biden stressed the importance of Western unity, saying that “the single most important thing is for us to stay unified.”  

According to the Associated Press, Biden met with other Western leaders to help coordinate the West’s response to Russia’s invasion.  

Biden announced that the US would send an additional $1 billion of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and that the US would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a teleconference speech to NATO, where he implored the Western leaders for more military aid. Biden said more aid was on the way, but he provided no specifics.  

The leaders also discussed the possibility of Russia using chemical weapons against Ukraine. Biden said such an attack would “trigger a response in kind,” but no specifics were provided. The Associated Press reported that according to an anonymous White House official, this did not mean military action. 

On March 25, President Biden next went to Poland. He first stopped at Rzeszów, which is a city along the Polish-Ukrainian border. He met with American troops stationed in the area.  

The soldiers are part of NATO’s military deployments in eastern Europe. Their mission is not only to deter Russian aggression against Poland, but also to provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of refugees arriving from neighboring Ukraine.  

Biden then traveled to Warsaw, the Polish capital. On Saturday, he met with Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda. Biden also visited Ukrainian refugees in the city, according to CBS.  

Before leaving on Saturday evening, Biden delivered a major address at Warsaw’s Royal Castle. 

In it, he highlighted Eastern Europe’s long struggle for freedom, and the renewed struggle that the world now faces. The new conflict, Biden said, is “a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.” 

Biden then went on to say how Ukraine was the newest frontline in the fight between freedom and repression. 

Biden also detailed how the United States has aided Ukraine by giving the country $1.35 billion in military aid since the invasion began, and the widespread sanctions that have been imposed against Russia. 

Towards the end of the speech, Biden made a seemingly unscripted remark about Russian President Vladimir Putin. “For God’s sake, this man cannot stay in power,” said Biden. 

According to CNN, the White House later walked back this remark, saying that regime change in Russia was not the policy of the United States. On Monday, Biden said that he was expressing his outrage, and that it was not a change in government policy.