The content of President Joe Biden’s 27-minute speech from the Royal Castle in Poland was obscured by his ad-libbed remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin at its end.
He declared, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain at power.”
Biden, nearly one year later, returns to the Royal Castle to commemorate the anniversary of a war which has increasingly placed him at odds with Russian leader. This Cold War dynamic was underscored by Biden’s highly secretive visit in Kyiv the day before.
Biden stood alongside Volodymyr Zelensky the Ukrainian President, and used his presence in Kiev to mock Putin over his plans to invade and control the country.
Biden stated that Putin’s war on conquest was failing, and added later that he believed he could outlast the rest of us. He’s not thinking that at the moment, I think.
Biden and his aides tried to avoid personalizing Ukraine’s conflict at any point, but it was gone long before the week’s anniversary. Biden declared Putin a war criminal and a “pure fool”, accusing Russia genocide, and in his castle speech calling for regime change.
Despite this, the carefully choreographed choreography of this week is quite striking in its obvious pitting Biden against his Kremlin counterpart. Each will deliver important speeches on Tuesday to commemorate one year since Russia invaded.
Biden plans to recommit himself to Ukraine support, even though the cost of doing so is increasing and public support seems to be waning. In Moscow, Putin gave a major speech to Congress, falsely claiming that Ukraine and its West allies started the war. He also offered no indications of reversing his ambitions.
Jake Sullivan, the US national security advisor, described the Warsaw address to reporters as an “affirmative declaration of values” that would place the Ukraine conflict in a wider context. It was not intended to be a direct rebuttal of Putin, he said.
Sullivan stated, “We didn’t set the speech up any kind of head-to-head.” “This is not a contest of rhetoric with anyone else.”
Sullivan stated that Biden’s speech will be more than a single response from his Moscow counterpart.
“The remarks of the president today are…about something bigger.” He said that we chose this time and this date because it was bigger than what President Putin was saying today.
Senior US and European officials claim that Putin has not changed his goals since launching his invasion one year ago. Despite setbacks in his military and a power struggle between the Russian defense ministry and the mercenary Wagner Group, Russia has made recent gains in the East. Putin’s troops seem poised to seize Bakhmut, marking the first major Russian military victory in a few months.
Biden’s appearance in Warsaw was not as Putin’s forces were retreating and observers predicted that the Russian economy would collapse under the pressure of Western sanctions. However, it now seems like the war will continue for at least another year. At the moment, there are no serious attempts to negotiate an end of the fighting.
Biden will be visiting the region this week and hopes to once again rally support for Ukraine. He also hopes to show Putin and Russia that the West’s resolve isn’t weakening. Biden will reiterate his support for these countries’ security in meetings with President Andrzej Da of Poland and other Eastern European Allies.
Monday’s announcement by Biden was that he would join European countries in announcing additional sanctions against Moscow and to unveil a new security assistance package, on top of the tens billions already committed for this year.
The White House stated that Biden would talk by phone with other Western leaders during his week-long trip, including Prime Minister Rishi of the United Kingdom as well as President Emmanuel Macron from France.
Freedom is priceless. It is worth fighting for, no matter how long it takes. “And that’s how we’re going be with you Mr. President, for as long it takes,” Biden said to Zelensky in Kyiv Monday.
The fight to come
However, neither Biden nor any other Western leader has been able to predict exactly how long it will take. This week is as much about the next year as the 12 months before.
Biden’s presidency has been marked by the war. He has made his mark on almost every aspect of the war, including the billions of dollars spent on arms shipments and the revitalized Western alliance. While it has caused turmoil in the global economy, created political problems at home, and allowed Biden to make his often-quoted claim that “America’s back”,
Officials from the White House have been looking at this week’s anniversary for weeks. They keep emphasizing that one year ago, when Russian troops were encroaching on Ukraine’s border, many people, including within the Biden administration, predicted that Kyiv would fall in just a few days.
A full takeover was prevented by the surprising resilience of the Ukrainian people and the ineptitude shown by the Russian forces. Instead, the war has turned into what NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg described as a “grinding warfare of attrition” with no discernible end.
“I believe it is wise for us to be prepared in a long war,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he will be visiting Biden at the White House next month.
In the hope of changing the course of the war, the United States and other Western countries have been sending Ukraine tranches of weapons, tanks, and ammunition. Zelensky wants heavier weapons and fighter planes.
Officials from the United States have stated that they believe the huge influx of weaponry to Ukraine, which includes new vehicles and longer-range missiles as well as Patriot air defense systems, will help Ukraine win on the battlefield and place the country in a better position to negotiate an ending to the conflict.
It is not clear what terms Zelensky would accept in peace negotiations. The US has also refused to give any details beyond saying that it will be up Zelensky’s decision.
Fears about the future of war
New concerns have been raised about ammunition and weapons supplies in the last week. This is a clear indicator that the West can’t provide endless support forever, neither politically nor logistically, as shown by polls that show waning support for the war effort.
Some conservative Republicans in the US have resisted providing more assistance to Ukraine. However, the party’s leaders seem unwavering in their support. As Biden announces his intention to run for reelection in 2016, Europe is growing anxious that the White House might change its policy towards Ukraine.
“I have to admit that there is concern in both Poland and Ukraine about the US’s ability to continue its support beyond the current administration. The US’s support would have made this war look completely different,” Michal Baranowski (managing director, Warsaw) of the German Marshall Fund said.
Baranowski stated, “The truth is that we are fighting against time.” It’s not about whether time is on Russia’s side, which is losing, but has the resources to drain us all in the West. This is what gives me cause to pause. I pray that we can keep going.”
White House officials stated that Biden will speak about the cost of war to the rest of the globe in his speech at Warsaw’s castle to mark the anniversary of the war. His aides and he tried to downplay the possibility that Republicans would reduce American aid for Ukraine. However, they noted that most GOP leaders support him.
His remarks in Polish and Ukrainian will give an indication of how many refugees Poland has taken in since the beginning of the war.
John Kirby, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, stated that the president’s message was for all people.
Biden plans to send a message to the Kremlin almost a year after calling for his removal from the same spot.
Kirby stated that he would be able to hear Mr. Putin messaging him as well as the Russian people.