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Powerful Speeches From Two World Leaders as Anniversary of War in Ukraine Dawns
Biden Delivers Address in Warsaw, Poland
On Tuesday, February 21, 2023, President Joe Biden delivered an address to a crowd of thousands in Warsaw, Poland. This speech comes after his visit to the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv the day prior as he visits with Ukrainian officials and their allies to mark the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
After opening remarks by Polish President Andrzej Duda, President Biden took the stage where he greeted the people of Poland and thanked them for welcoming him back to the country.
He began with reflections into questions posed nearly one year ago – a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin was using his military forces to execute an invasion of Ukraine.
“One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv. Well, I have just come from a visit to Kyiv, and I can report: Kyiv stands strong!” Biden stated as the crowd broke into applause.
“Kyiv stands proud. It stands tall. And most important, it stands free.”
Kyiv was a crucial target of the Russian military in the early days of the invasion. For Russia to gain control of Ukraine’s capital city would be both a strategic and symbolic display of power.
However, after many weeks of failed military strategies in Kyiv, Russian forces withdrew and have since yet been able to gain control of the capital city.
Democratic Support for Ukraine
Biden continued with force as he responded to questions brought up in the early days of the invasion – concerning uncertainties regarding how nations allied with Ukraine might respond. Would there be a powerful response? How would allies remain united? Would the world stand together in defense of democracy and the sovereignty of nations?
President Biden’s response: “One year later, we know the answer.”
“The Ukrainian people are too brave. America, Europe, a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific — we were too unified,” Biden declared. “Democracy was too strong.”
President Biden spoke firmly as he assured the crowd gathered in Warsaw of the United States’ commitment to aiding in Ukraine’s victory.
“There should be no doubt,” Biden said, “Our support for Ukraine will not waver, NATO will not be divided, and we will not tire.”
“And I’ll repeat tonight what I said last year in this same place: A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never be able to erase the people’s love of liberty. Brutality will never grind down the will of the free. And Ukraine — Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia. Never.”
Biden’s address concluded after 20 minutes and was promptly met with analysis, journalistic commentary, and praise from around the world for his continued devotion in supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia.
Vladimir Putin’s Presidential Address
Less than 24 hours before Biden’s speech in Warsaw, Vladimir Putin delivered his Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly in Gostiny Dvor, Moscow. Putin focused his entire address on the war in Ukraine, however, the narrative he presented rang starkly different from that of Biden’s.
The Russian president began the address solemnly, expressing that the country is currently experiencing ‘a difficult, watershed moment.’ In his speech, he made the false claim that the West had initiated the war and that Russia struggles ‘defending human lives and our common home.’
“One year ago, to protect the people in our historical lands, to ensure the security of our country and to eliminate the threat coming from the neo-Nazi regime,” Putin said in his speech broadcast by all state television networks, “it was decided to begin the special military operation.”
Putin Places Blame on The West
He quickly escalates to attacks on the West – accusing numerous nations and organizations of deceit and hostility and claiming that Western allies “have become a symbol of total, unprincipled lies.”
These comments were followed by the announcement that Russia will be ‘suspending its participation’ in the new START treaty – a previously signed 2010 international agreement involving both the United States and Russia that places limitations on the number of strategic nuclear warheads able to be deployed.
The United States and Russia are the world’s two largest nuclear powers – controlling more than 90 percent of the globe’s nuclear weapons. Lack of co-operation in regards to the new treaty could risk major consequences.
Putin concluded his address affirmatively and optimistically.
“Russia will meet any challenges because we are all one country, a big and united nation,” he said. “We are confident in ourselves and confident in our strength. The truth is on our side.”
The address comes after much delay. While the constitution mandates annual addresses, Putin chose to forego his 2022 as he rolled Russian troops across Ukrainian borders.
The War in The Days To Come
The future of Ukraine is not yet clear. With both President Putin and President Biden (through his assistance and solidarity with Ukraine) vowing to emerge triumphant, these two major powers will soon be entering year two of a war that has defied most expectations.