The speech, White House national securityr Jake Sullivan said in a preview on Friday, “will speak to the stakes of this moment, advise the urgency of the challenge that lies ahead, what the conflict in Ukraine means for the world, and why it is so important that the free world sustain unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression.”
On Friday, Biden also announced a new initiative intended to deprive Russian President Vladimir Putin of European energy profits that Biden says are used to fuel Russia’s war in Ukraine. And later that day, following his arrival some 65 miles from Poland’s border with Ukraine, the President met with aid workers to hear their accounts of helping alleviate the humanitarian crisis and members of the 82nd Airborne Division, who have been deployed along NATO’s eastern edge to deter potential Russian aggression.
Biden told the service members on Friday, “What you’re engaged in is much more than whether or not we can alleviate the suffering of Ukraine.”
“We’re in a new phase, your generation. We’re at an inflection point,” he said. And he told the troops that their mission was more than simply sending a message to Russia. Instead, he said, they were acting as a signal to all the world’s autocrats.
While Biden will meet with refugees in Warsaw, he said on Friday that he would have preferred to see the crisis from an even closer perspective.
“They will not let me — understandably, I guess — cross the border and take a look at what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said. The White House has said it did not explore a visit to Ukraine.
For example, Duda has asked the US to speed up and simplify the procedures allowing Ukrainians with family in the US to come to the country.
More than 3.5 million refugees have now fled Ukraine, according to data from the United Nations refugee agency released on Tuesday. A vast majority of those refugees have fled to Ukraine’s western neighbors across Europe.
Poland, which borders Ukraine to the west, has registered more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees crossing into the country, though not all refugees who have entered Poland remain there.
Additionally, the US has continued to reject Poland’s proposal to facilitate the transfer of its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. And the Polish President has called for a more permanent NATO defense posture in the country along with an international peacekeeping force in Ukraine.
US officials have not warmed to the peacekeeping proposition, suggesting it could violate Biden’s red line of keeping US troops out of the conflict.
During Friday’s meeting with humanitarian workers, Duda said Biden’s “presence here sends a great signal and evidence of unity — unity within NATO.”
The Polish President added that Biden’s visit “demonstrates a huge support and also a big significance attached by the United States to the stability and world peace, to reinstating the peace where difficult situations are happening in places where somebody resorts to acts of aggression against other democratic and free nations — as it is happening today against Ukraine where the Russian aggression, unfortunately, happening for a month now is effect.”
CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Sam Fossum contributed to this report.