One year of the war in Ukraine, President Biden visits Kyiv

international politics, Politics


Elizabeth Boyle, staff

It has been almost a year since Russia Invaded Ukraine, and the war is still raging on. The annual Munich Security Conference took place from Feb. 17 to 19 at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich Germany. The war in Ukraine was the main topic of the event. Vice President Kamala Harris attended and used her speech to talk about Russian war crimes in Ukraine.  China’s top diplomat, the Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, spoke out with concern for the war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke, as well, asking the western countries to send more weapons to Ukraine. Although Russia was the main topic of discussion Russian representatives were not invited.

Vice President Harris condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine calling them “crimes against Humanity.”Harris stated that “justice must be served,” and those at fault must be held responsible. Harris’s statement is pushing the condemnation of Russian actions a step further than just war crimes by calling them “crimes against humanity.” Harris went into detail by saying, “Let us be clear: Russian forces have pursued a widespread and systemic attack against the civilian population – gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape, and deportation. Execution-style killings, beating, and electrocution.” Harris said that supporting Ukraine and speaking out against Russia’s violent acts and pushing for justice to be served is “[in the US’s] moral interests.” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke as well stating that Russia is hurting its own citizens with the war it started. 

In response to Harris’s comments, the Russian Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, claimed that the US is working to “demonize” Russia. Russia continues to deny claims of attacking civilians and claims that the gruesome acts Harris mentioned in her speech were committed by Ukrainian forces against their own people to harm Russia’s reputation.

Chinese diplomat Wang Yi spoke saying that China was concerned about the “long-term effect of this war” and claimed that it was in the interest of all parties that peace talks should be seen in the near future. He also reiterated President of China Xi Jinping’s condemning any nation that threatens nuclear violence. The US State Department responded to China by warning that if China helped Moscow with military material it would result in sanctions or worse. The US still fears the Chinese invasion of Taiwan if the relationship with China and Russia continues to grow.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy joined the conference by video call and urged the Western leaders to act instead of talk. He once again said Ukraine is in need of weapons as soon as possible. Ukraine doesn’t have the time to wait months. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen responded to Zelenskyy by stating that European countries must work quickly to produce and distribute weapons to Ukraine.

Although no Russians were in attendance, prominent critics of the Kremlin were invited such as Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed politician Alexey Navalny, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled businessman, and opposition activist.

In light of this recent conference, President Biden visited Ukraine on Monday, Feb. 20. This was President Biden’s first visit to Ukraine since the war began. Biden assured Zelenskiy that military assistance is on the way and that the US will be implementing more sanctions against Russia. This is a rare occasion for a US president to visit an active war zone when there is not a large presence of US military personnel. Biden said he risked the dangerous travel because he wanted to declare “unwavering” support for Ukraine and spread the message that “Putin’s war of conquest is failing.”

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