President Joe Biden arrived in Poland to visit United States troops and meet his Polish counterpart and compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to China’s crushing of protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Biden arrived in Poland on Friday afternoon at an airport in Rzeszow, located about 170km (105 miles) from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv that has become a major staging area for displaced people.
Biden praised Ukrainians for showing “backbone” in their resistance against Russia, giving the example of “a 30-year-old woman standing there in front of a tank with a rifle”.
“I mean, talk about what happened to Tiananmen Square. This is Tiananmen Square squared,” he said.
Biden also referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a man who, quite frankly, I think is a war criminal”.
Biden visited United States troops stationed near Poland’s border with Ukraine and got a look at the growing humanitarian response to the millions of Ukrainians who are fleeing to Poland to escape Russia’s assault.
President Andrzej Duda greeted Biden in the nearby town of Jasionka at a briefing on the humanitarian assistance being provided to Ukrainian refugees entering Poland.
The two leaders were joined in the briefing by Samantha Power, administrator of the US Agency for International Development and a group of about 20 US and Polish officials.
In response to the Russian invasion, the US has deployed 20,000 troops to Europe to bring the total number of active forces on the continent to 100,000.
According to the US Department of Defense, there will be more troops deployed.
The White House announced on Thursday the US would be accepting 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and announced more than $1bn in humanitarian aid for Ukraine and neighbouring nations dealing with the flow of refugees.
The European Union says some 3.5 million Ukrainians – half of them children – have fled the country, with more than 2.2 million ending up in Poland.
The US Congress this month approved funding for $13.6bn on humanitarian and military assistance for Ukraine. The Biden administration has begun allocating those funds.
Biden and Duda are scheduled to hold more talks in Warsaw on Saturday.