Posted by SlavEU | Европа, новости

Fresh off his dramatic visit to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, U.S. President Joe Biden was in Poland Tuesday to deliver a highly anticipated speech from Warsaw’s historic Royal Castle, marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion by highlighting how the United States has unified NATO and the West in support of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s effort to defend his country.

Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Advisor, said the speech would build on Biden’s remarks in the same location in March last year and would answer fundamental questions about NATO and U.S. support for Ukraine.

“One year later he believes that we have answered those questions about our unity and resolve, about our commitment to fundamental principles,” he told reporters in a briefing Tuesday.

The speech was also to highlight the contest between “aggressors who are trying to destroy fundamental principles and those democracies were pulling together to try to uphold it,” Sullivan said.

Before delivering remarks, Biden began his second trip to Poland in a year by meeting with President Andrzej Duda. The U.S. leader was set underscore Washington’s commitment to the principle of collective defense in Article 5 of the NATO charter and assure Duda that the alliance will respond if Russia expands its war beyond Ukraine and launches an attack on Poland.

Poland has been an unwavering ally of its neighbor, providing billions of dollars in weapons and humanitarian assistance to Zelenskyy’s government, welcoming Ukrainian refugees and providing a critical logistics hub for military assistance for Kyiv.

Later Tuesday, Biden was to deliver his arguments for support to Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” including an additional $460 million military aid package that he announced in Kyiv Monday, that brings the total U.S. military, economic and humanitarian support delivered to Ukraine since the Russian invasion to over $40 billion.

In a statement released by the White House Monday, Biden said his speech would focus on “how the United States will continue to rally the world to support the people of Ukraine and the core values of human rights and dignity in the UN Charter that unite us worldwide.”

He also noted his administration will soon announce another new wave of sanctions against individuals and companies “that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine.”  

Geopolitical symbolism

A speech in Warsaw delivered by an American president to mark the war anniversary carries significant geopolitical symbolism. Poland had been locked behind the Iron Curtain as a signee of the Warsaw Pact, a military treaty established in 1955 by the Soviet Union and several Eastern European countries to counterbalance the Western military alliance. The pact was dissolved on July 1,1991.

The backdrop of Biden’s speech is Warsaw’s Royal Castle, whose construction began in the 1300s and has witnessed many notable events in Poland’s history, including the drafting of the first constitution of a European state in 1791. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the castle was destroyed by Nazi Germany during World War II and later rebuilt.

Warsaw is an appropriate place to reiterate U.S. commitment to European security, said Ian Lesser, vice president of the German Marshall Fund. 

“Poland is very much on the front line and will remain so whatever the course of the war in Ukraine.  The country occupies a critical position in allied deterrence and defense and is the key logistical hub for assistance headed to Ukraine,” he told VOA. “The fact that the president’s speech takes place in the Cold War birthplace of the Warsaw Pact will not be lost on observers, not least Russians.”

A few hours before Biden’s speech, President Vladimir Putin delivered remarks to Russia’s Federal Assembly in which he blamed Western countries for provoking conflict.  He also said Western economic sanctions against Russia had not “achieved anything and will not achieve anything.”

Before returning to Washington on Wednesday, Biden will meet with NATO leaders from the so-called Bucharest Nine (B-9), the countries on NATO’s easternmost flank, which include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. These countries feel the Russian threat most acutely and are pushing for a more robust military response to Moscow.

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