President Joe Biden Credit: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

In a Twitter post on Monday, President Biden said, “As we approach the anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I’m in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”

The comments came as part of his surprise visit to the devastated, war-torn country, where he was welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “Joseph Biden, welcome to Kyiv,” Zelenskyy said in an official Telegram channel. “Your visit is an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians.”

While several European leaders have visited Ukraine, this was Biden’s first visit since the invasion and comes before the anniversary of Russia’s attack. A three-day visit to Poland is part of the tour, which shores up Ukraine’s ally and signals the ongoing support of the U.S. in terms of dollars and munitions.

“When [Russian President Vladimir] Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. “He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong.”

In this war of attrition, Russian troop losses in eastern Ukraine are having an impact on Putin’s offensives in the region, according to British defense officials. Since Russia’s invasion last February 24, Putin’s forces have suffered considerable casualties—as many as 60,000 by some accounts. These setbacks are certain to increase with long-distance missiles promised to Ukraine’s forces.

Vice President Kamala Harris, at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, echoed some of Biden’s intentions, as well as his charge of genocide, declaring that Russia had “committed crimes against humanity.” She said Russia and those “complicit” in the acts will “be held to account.”

She bolstered her assertions with evidence of the atrocities, noting that, “First, from the starting days of this unprovoked war, we have witnessed Russian forces engage in horrendous atrocities and war crimes. Russian forces have pursued a widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population—gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape, and deportation…execution-style killings, beating, and electrocution.

“Russian authorities have forcibly deported hundreds of thousands of people from Ukraine to Russia, including children,” Harris added. “They have cruelly separated children from their families.” In her speech, she said Russian forces had deliberately bombed a maternity hospital.

All this may be no more than a sound and fury signifying nothing, since neither Russia, Ukraine, nor the U.S. are part of the International Criminal Court agreement.

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