Biden meets Ukraine leader in long-sought visit to the Oval Office
WASHINGTON >> President Joe Biden used his first meeting with a foreign leader since ending the war in Afghanistan to send the message Wednesday that the United States — unburdened of its “forever war” — is determined to become a more reliable ally to its friends, in this case Ukraine.
Biden played host to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for a long-sought Oval Office meeting and tried to reassure him that his administration remains squarely behind the Eastern European nation.
Biden didn’t mention Afghanistan in his brief appearance with Zelenskyy before cameras.
But he highlighted his concerns about Russian aggression in the region. Biden, in making his case to end the war in Afghanistan, repeatedly said winding it down would allow the U.S. to put greater focus on combating malevolent acts from adversaries Russia and China.
“The United States remains firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression and for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” Biden said.
The Ukrainian leader, who had found himself ensnarled in Donald Trump’s first impeachment, arrived at the White House looking to Biden for increased military aid and backing for his country’s bid for NATO membership.
The meeting was postponed two days while Biden and his national security team were consumed by the American military withdrawal from Afghanistan. The withdrawal, which concluded Monday, left behind many Afghans who had worked with the Americans and their allies and who now fear Taliban rule. This led to criticism that the U.S. was less than a reliable international partner, something Biden was eager to counter.