Joe Biden came to Ukraine for the first time as the President of the United States, the visit was kept a secret until the last, although almost the entire city center was blocked in Kyiv from the very morning. This is also the first visit of the US President to Ukraine in the last 15 years, the last time such a high-level visit took place in 2008, when George Bush Jr. was in office.

As CNN reports, during talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyi in Kyiv, Joe Biden outlined his thoughts on visiting the Ukrainian capital as the war approaches its first anniversary.

“I thought it was critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about US support for Ukraine in the war,” the US President said. “The Ukrainian people have stepped up in a way that few people ever have in the past.”

Biden emphasized that there is broad bipartisan support for the Ukrainian cause in Washington, even though some Republicans are shying away from providing further assistance.

“For all the disagreement we have in our Congress on some issues, there is significant agreement on support for Ukraine,” he said. “It’s not just about freedom in Ukraine … It’s about freedom of democracy at large,” the US President said.

Biden arrived in Kyiv at 8 a.m. local time, according to journalists traveling with him in Ukraine. Biden’s motorcade arrived at the Mariinsky Palace just after 8:30 a.m. local time. He was met at the entrance by President Zelenskyi and his wife Olena Zelenska.

Answering a question about the significance of his stay in Kyiv, Biden noted that this is his eighth visit to the city. “Each time more significant,” Biden said.

He added that the purpose of his visit is to convey to Zelenskyi that the United States is “here to stay.” “We’re not leaving,” Biden said.

President Joe Biden also announced the allocation of $500 million in additional aid to Ukraine. In a joint statement with President Zelenskyi, Biden said the aid package would include more military equipment, including artillery ammunition, more missiles and howitzers.

Zelenskyi, in turn, noted that he and Biden talked about “long-range weapons and weapons that can be supplied to Ukraine, even if they were not supplied before.”