US President Joe Biden’s historic visit to the Ukrainian capital on Monday is a stark reminder that the Russian invasion indirectly pits Vladimir Putin against major Western powers, experts point out.
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“As a public relations strategy, it’s a crushing slap in the face to Vladimir Putin that Washington just offered,” summarizes Yann Breault, assistant professor at the Royal Military College of Saint-Jean.
Smiling and wearing sunglasses, Joe Biden met his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kiev on Monday, while anti-bomb warning sirens rang out in the capital’s skies.
The US President used a press conference to discuss an additional $500 million in aid, details of which will be announced in the coming days.
“I felt it was essential that there is no doubt about US support for Ukraine,” he said.
“The US government is all in. If there are those who still haven’t understood after a year that this is a proxy war between the United States and Russia, then what else does it take? ‘ asks Rafael Jacob, researcher associated with the Raoul Dandurand Chair.
As a precaution, the exact means by which the Ukrainian capital was reached remain under the seal of secrecy for the time being.
Last year, European leaders arrived in Kiev by train from Poland.
However, it is much less likely that an American president would be stuck on the tracks for hours with an adviser with a nuclear suitcase.
“There is something absolutely extraordinary, extraordinary that the President of the United States is here,” emphasizes Mr. Jacob.
The White House has also revealed that it was in direct contact with Moscow shortly before Joe Biden arrived.
Full details of the move will be announced later, but its nature made it “historic,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.
It is currently difficult to determine how President Vladimir Putin will react, say experts consulted by Le Journal.
“The speech he has to give [mardi] has probably been written for a while, but certainly we’re working on adding a few more peppery lines,” says Yann Breault.