US President Joe Biden has rallied NATO allies in Poland, proclaiming “unwavering” support for Kyiv as his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announces suspension of Moscow’s role in a nuclear arms treaty with Washington.
Fresh from his surprise visit to Ukraine, Biden used Tuesday’s trip to garner support for Ukraine as the war enters its second year, with no end in sight.
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“One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv,” Biden said. “I can report: Kyiv stands strong, Kyiv stands proud, it stands tall and, most important, it stands free.”
Biden spoke after meeting NATO ally and Polish President Andrzej Duda, a vocal proponent of stronger Western support for Kyiv.
The declaration followed an unannounced trip on Monday to Ukraine, marking the first time in recent memory that a US president made a journey to a warzone not controlled by US troops.
Poland has NATO’s longest border with Ukraine and has been the main route in for weapons and out for refugees. The two leaders were expected to have discussed Poland’s security and scaling up NATO resources there.
In his state of the nation address before the first anniversary of the campaign in Ukraine, Putin said on Tuesday Moscow was freezing its participation in the New START treaty, a key nuclear arms deal with Washington.
Putin also accused the West of escalating the conflict and promised that Russia would keep fighting to “systematically” achieve its aims.
The Russian leader accused Western powers of wanting “to be done with us once and for all”, but said increasingly stringent sanctions on Russia “will not succeed”.
Moscow says it will observe curbs
Russia’s foreign ministry said the country will still observe curbs imposed by the New START treaty.
The treaty, the last nuclear arms control pact between the world’s two main nuclear powers, had been extended until early 2026.
After Putin’s speech, France and the United Kingdom called on Kremlin to reverse its decision to suspend participation in the treaty.
Earlier on Tuesday, the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) said their countries would continue to impose economic costs on Russia and urged the broader international community to reject what they described as Moscow’s “brutal expansionism”.
“We will impose further economic costs on Russia, and on individuals and entities – inside and outside of Russia – that provide political or economic support to these violations of international law,” the leaders said in a joint statement.
Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that Rome will keep supporting Ukraine in resisting Russian attacks but has no plans to offer fighter jets to Kyiv.
“At the moment the supply of planes is not on the table,” Meloni said at a news conference alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The Italian leader, on her first trip to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, has been a staunch supporter of Kyiv, but others in her right-wing coalition have been more ambiguous on the issue.