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Biden Affirms US Dedication to European Security in Meeting with Poland Leader

In his meeting with Duda, Biden described NATO as "maybe the most consequential alliance in history" and emphasized the alliance's strength despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's hopes that it would fracture over the war in Ukraine.

On February 21, 2023, President Joe Biden met with Polish President Andrzej Duda to discuss the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and reaffirm the United States’ commitment to European security. Biden arrived in Warsaw after paying an unannounced visit to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In his meeting with Duda, Biden described NATO as “maybe the most consequential alliance in history” and emphasized the alliance’s strength despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hopes that it would fracture over the war in Ukraine. Biden praised Poland’s efforts to assist Ukraine, including providing $3.8 billion in military and humanitarian aid and hosting over 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees.

Biden is slated to deliver a speech on the war later that day, where he is expected to highlight the commitment of Poland and other allies to Ukraine over the past year. Last March, Biden delivered a forceful condemnation of Putin just weeks after the start of the war.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the speech would be “vintage Joe Biden” and that the president would lay out that the action democracies take in the coming years will have reverberations for years to come. Sullivan also emphasized that the speech was not a rhetorical contest with Putin’s state-of-the-nation address, where he announced that Moscow would suspend its participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States.

While Biden is looking to use his trip to Europe as a moment of affirmation for Ukraine and allies, the White House has also emphasized that there is no clear endgame to the war in the near term and the situation on the ground has become increasingly complex. The administration has new intelligence suggesting that China, which has remained on the sidelines of the conflict, is now considering sending Moscow lethal aid, which could become a “serious problem” if Beijing follows through.

Biden and Zelenskyy discussed capabilities that Ukraine needs “to be able to succeed on the battlefield” in the months ahead, Sullivan said. Zelenskyy has been pushing the U.S. and European allies to provide fighter jets and long-range missile systems known as ATACMS – which Biden has declined to provide so far.

With no end in sight for the war, the anniversary is a critical moment for Biden to try to bolster European unity and reiterate that Putin’s invasion was a frontal attack on the post-World War II international order. The White House hopes the president’s visit to Kyiv and Warsaw will help bolster American and global resolve.

However, support for providing Ukraine with weapons and direct economic assistance is softening in the U.S., according to a poll published by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Earlier this month, 11 House Republicans introduced what they called the “Ukraine fatigue” resolution urging Biden to end military and financial aid to Ukraine while pushing Ukraine and Russia to come to a peace agreement.

Biden dismissed the notion of waning American support during his visit to Kyiv, stating that there was significant agreement on support for Ukraine. “It’s not just about freedom in Ukraine…It’s about freedom of democracy at large,” he said.

Overall, Biden’s meetings with Duda and Zelenskyy and his speech on the war demonstrate the United States’ commitment to European security and support for Ukraine in the ongoing conflict. However, with no clear endgame in sight, the situation on the ground becoming increasingly complex, and support for providing Ukraine with assistance softening, it remains to be seen how effective these efforts will be in resolving the conflict.

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