U.S. President Joe Biden has said Ukraine “stands strong” a year after the Russian invasion and that Moscow would never defeat its neighbour, after President Putin said in a fiery speech on Tuesday February 21, that Russia will never lose to Ukraine.
Hours before Biden spoke in Poland following a surprise visit to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed that Moscow would achieve its objectives in Ukraine and accused the West of plotting to destroy Russia. Putin also suspended a landmark nuclear arms control treaty over the West’s support for Kyiv.
The nuclear treaty signed by then-U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the countries can deploy.
Due to expire in 2026, it allows each country to physically check the other’s nuclear arsenal, although tensions over Ukraine had already brought inspections to a halt.
Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, never – Biden responds to Putin
Putin, increasing the tension in what has become the biggest confrontation between Russia and US since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, also announced that new strategic systems had been put on combat duty and threatened to resume nuclear tests.
Biden proclaimed “unwavering” support for Kyiv and a commitment to bolstering NATO’s eastern flank facing Russia, while rejecting Moscow’s contention that the West was plotting to attack Russia.
“One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv,” Biden said at Warsaw’s Royal Castle. “I can report: Kyiv stands strong, Kyiv stands proud, it stands tall and, most important, it stands free.
“When President Putin ordered his tanks to roll into Ukraine, he thought we would roll over. He was wrong,” he said.
“A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never be able to ease the people’s love of liberty, brutality will never grind down the will of the free. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia – never,”
He said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin thought he was “tough” but then met the “iron will of America”.
“He thought autocrats like himself were tough and leaders of democracy were soft and then he met the iron will of America and nations everywhere that refused to accept a world governed by fear,” Biden said.
Putin “still doubts our conviction”, Biden said.
But the West’s support for Ukraine “will not waiver”, he added, and Kyiv’s allies “will not tire”.
“NATO is more united than ever before” almost a year after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
“Democracy was too strong for Putin,” Biden said.
He added that the Russian leader’s offensive has driven the “NATOisation of Finland and Sweden”.
The West has pledged tens of billions of dollars in military aid to Kyiv.
Earlier on Tuesday, speaking for an hour and 45 minutes, Putin vowed that Moscow would achieve its aims in Ukraine and end the U.S.-led NATO alliance in the process.
“They intend to transform a local conflict into a phase of global confrontation,” he said. “This is exactly how we understand it all and we will react accordingly, because in this case we are talking about the existence of our country.”