Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine amid domestic crises, rising skepticism of war effort

February 20, 2023

President Biden made an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Monday to pledge America's indefinite support on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion.

Biden promised to back Ukraine "for as long as it takes" while meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky for a photo-op in Kyiv.

The visit came as Biden faces rising skepticism at home of America's involvement with Ukraine -- and criticism over his aloof response to domestic crises, including an unprecedented invasion of America's southern border and a toxic chemical disaster in rural Ohio.

Biden's Ukraine trip

The 80-year-old Biden, whose family has controversial ties to Ukraine, told Zelensky that Kyiv "has captured a part of my heart."

But the public mood at home is shifting, with a new AP poll finding that less than half of Americans support sending weapons to Ukraine. Republicans have called for more oversight of the tens of billions in military aid that Biden has already poured into the conflict zone.

Biden pledged another $500 million in military aid while meeting with Zelensky.

"I thought it was critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about U.S. support for Ukraine in the war,” Biden said.

"America Last"

The surprise visit provided fresh fodder for Biden's critics, who say he has focused on Ukraine's fortunes at the expense of the American people. Critics have often contrasted Biden's resolute backing of Ukraine with his handling of the southern border, where illegal immigration has hit record highs.

Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), a vocal Biden opponent, knocked Biden for failing to visit East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailment caused a hazardous chemical spill earlier this month. The Biden administration initially refused to send disaster aid to the poor town.

"We must impeach this America Last fool before it’s too late," Greene wrote. 

Is America at war?

Biden spent about five hours in Kyiv Monday before departing for Poland, where he made an infamous call last year for Vladimir Putin to be overthrown that the White House scrambled to retract.

While Biden insists America isn't going to war with Russia, skeptics have questioned whether a proxy war is already in progress that could escalate to a direct global conflict.

By traveling right into the theater of war, Biden certainly made it look like America is a party to the conflict.

Biden has acknowledged that the threat of "nuclear Armageddon" is at its highest in decades, and Zelensky set off more alarms Monday when he raised the specter of World War III to a German newspaper.

“Because if China allies itself with Russia, there will be a world war, and I do think that China is aware of that,” he said.

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