WARSAW: In a fiery address from Warsaw's Royal Castle, US President Joe Biden assured to continue supporting Ukraine as it enters a second year of the ongoing war and said Russian President Vladimir Putin's "craven lust for land and power will fail".
Biden delivered his speech on Tuesday following his historic secret trip to Kiev the previous day and just hours after Putin's State of the Nation address in which the Russian leader continued his tirade against the West and accused it and Ukraine of starting the war.
Biden started his address by saying that nearly a year ago "I spoke at the Royal Castle here in Warsaw, just weeks after Vladimir Putin had unleashed his murderous assault on Ukraine".
"The largest land war in Europe since World War Two had begun. And the principles that had been the cornerstone of peace, prosperity, and stability on this planet for more than 75 years were at risk of being shattered.
"One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kiev. Well, I have just come from a visit to Kiev, and I can report: Kiev stands strong. Kiev stands proud. It stands tall. And most important, it stands free," he said to a thunderous applause from the crowd.
The President went on to say that when Russia launched its invasion, it wasn't only Ukraine which was being tested, but the whole world "faced a test for the ages".
"Europe was being tested. America was being tested. NATO was being tested. All democracies were being tested. And the questions we faced were as simple as they were profound... One year later, we know the answer.
"We did respond. We would be strong. We would be united. And the world would not look the other way," said Biden.
In his speech, the President singled out his Russian counterpart by name 10 separate times.
Biden appeared to speak almost directly to Putin in much of the remarks, saying: "Autocrats only understand one word: No. No, no. No, you will not take my country. No, you will not take my freedom. No, you will not take my future. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia. Never."
The American Persident referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who he met in Kiev on Monday, as "a man whose courage would be forged in fire and steel".
"When President Zelensky came to the US in December (2022), he said this struggle will define the world and what our children and grandchildren, how they live, and then their children and grandchildren.
"He wasn't only speaking about the children and grandchildren of Ukraine. He was speaking about all of our children and grandchildren. Yours and mine," Biden noted.
In response to Putin's State of the Nation address in which he said that the West was plotting to attack Russia, Biden said that the "US and the nations of Europe do not seek to control or destroy Russia".
"This war was never a necessity; it's a tragedy. President Putin chose this war. Every day the war continues is his choice. He could end the war with a word."
Biden is due to meet leaders of nine countries on NATO's eastern flank on Wednesday, and he went out of his way to reaffirm American backing for one of the alliance's key pledges.
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