Ukrainians here in the East react to President Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv

The surprise visit to Ukraine made him the first U.S. President to visit an active war zone without any national troops on the ground
Ukrainians in ENC respond to Biden's surprise visit to Ukraine
Ukrainians in ENC respond to Biden's surprise visit to Ukraine(n/a)
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 8:26 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - President Biden spent more than 5 hours in Ukraine’s Captial Monday discussing further actions the U.S. can take in the country’s war against Russia.

“Obviously surprised but so pleased and very grateful. This type of support and this type of leadership is so very important, and for the people of Ukraine, it’s an absolute honor,” says Olena Kozlova-Pates, one Ukrainian who now lives here in the East.

He now becomes the first U.S. President to visit an active war zone with no U.S. troops on the ground.

NC State Political Science Chair, Michael Struett says, “It’s pretty rare. I can’t think of it having happened in modern history. Ukraine is right next to NATO air space so we have very good command and control of the skies up to Ukraine and Russia.”

Biden’s visit also comes as Ukraine reflects on Heavenly Hundred Heroes Day, which is in remembrance of the soldiers killed during the Revolution of Dignity in 2014.

Kozlova-Pates says, “For the President of America to be in Ukraine today to show the Ukrainian people solidarity and unwavering support of Ukraine.”

During the visit, Biden announced additional funding for machinery in Ukraine but Kozlova-Pates believes her home country needs much more.

“Ukraine needs so much more support militarily. In addition to tanks that have already been promised, Ukraine needs airplanes. Ukraine needs so much more to defend not only its land and its people, but also the idea of freedom and democracy; not just for itself but for the rest of Europe and certainly for the rest of the free world.”

Kozlova-Pates says her family is already doing just that. “They will continue fighting and they will continue standing up for what they believe is the right thing to do, and they’re on the right side of history, and they will definitely be victorious.”

Kozlova-Pates also encourages local communities to reach out to the Ukrainians in the Carolinas organization in order to get involved in the fight to support Ukraine.

This is Biden’s first visit to a war zone as president. Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, made surprise visits to Afghanistan and Iraq during their presidencies to meet U.S. troops and those countries’ leaders.