United States president Joe Biden gave forceful remarks on Saturday in Poland that reaffirmed his support for the United States and its allies’ support for Ukraine and stated that the war had been a “strategic fail” for Russia.
As the war in Ukraine is entering its second month, Biden declared that democracy would triumph and urged all freedom-loving countries to “commit now to remain in this battle for a long time.”
Also, Biden had a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Do not even consider moving on a single inch of NATO land,” Biden added. “Under Article 5, we have a fundamental commitment to defend every inch of NATO territory with the full weight of our collective forces.”
According to the White House, Biden spoke for roughly 30 minutes at the Royal Castle in Warsaw City to an audience of between 750 to 1,000 people, including Polish President Andrzej Sebastian Duda, local leaders, members of the Polish parliament, university students, and U.S. embassy staff.
“Be not scared,” Joe Biden told the Ukrainian people at the beginning and end of his remarks.
“Be not afraid.” These were the first words said by Pope John Paul II in his first public statement following his election in October 1978, and they would come to define him. Words that have the power to transform the world.
In June 1979, on his first trip back to Poland as Pope, John Paul II delivered the message here to Warsaw. The announcement was about power, the power of resilience, the power of faith, and the power of the people. It was a message that helped end Soviet repression in the central land of Eastern Europe 30 years ago in the face of a brutal and cruel government system.
It was a message to the world that we would triumph over the brutality and cruelty of this unjust war. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ruled with an iron fist behind an Iron Curtain when Pope John Paul delivered that message in 1979. The solidarity movement then took hold in Poland a year later. Although I’m sure he wouldn’t be present tonight, we are thankful across America and the globe for Lech Walesa. The song brings back that famous quote from philosophical philosopher Kierkegaard, “Faith sees best in the darkness.” These were dark times.
The Soviet Union collapsed ten years later, and Poland and Central and Eastern Europe would soon be free. Nothing about the fight for liberty was straightforward. It had been a long and arduous journey. Not over days and months, but years and decades. However, we resurfaced in the great battle for liberty. A clash between autocracy and democracy. Between repression and freedom. Between a rule-based and a brute-force-based order. In this war, it is essential to stay focused. The battle will not win in just a few days or even months. We must prepare ourselves for the long struggle ahead.
Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. President, Mr. Mayor, distinguished guests, members of the Polish parliament, the people of Poland, and some Ukrainians who may be present. We are here at the royal castle in this city that holds a sacred spot in the history of not only Europe but of humanity’s never-ending quest for freedom.
Warsaw has stood where liberty has been a challenge for a long time, and the rule of law has prevailed. Indeed, in Warsaw, several refugees who fled her homeland of Czechoslovakia amid Soviet dominance returned to speak out and show solidarity with the dissent. Her name was Madeleine Korbel Albright. She was one of the staunchest proponents of democracy throughout the world. She was a good friend with whom I worked. America’s first female Secretary of State.
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She died just three days ago. She had spent her entire life fighting for central democratic principles. And now, Ukraine and its people are on the front lines of the ongoing struggle for freedom and democracy.
They are fighting to save their country, and their courageous resistance can be seen as part of an overall battle for fundamental democratic principles that unify all free people. The Law and order, freedom to speak, free and fair elections, writing, and organizing. The freedom to worship in the way one likes. These principles are fundamental in an open society.
However, they have been under siege. They have always been in a precarious position. Every generation has had to overcome the moral foes of democracy. That is how the world works because we all know the world is flawed, where the lusts and ambitions will always want to rule over the liberties and lives of many peoples.
Today, I conveyed my message to Ukraine’s defense minister and foreign minister; I believe they are present tonight. We are here to support you.
Poland, 1956 and again 1981, Hungary, 1956. Czechoslovakia, 1968. The current fighting at Melitopol, Kyiv, and Kharkiv is the most recent war in a lengthy strives. Soviet tanks smashed democratic revolutions, but resistance persisted until, in 1989, the Berlin Wall and all other Soviet-imposed barriers crumbled. They had toppled! And the people won.
However, the fight for democracy could not be over and didn’t end until the end of the Cold War. In the past 30 years, autocratic forces have been resurgent worldwide. Its characteristics are well-known – disregard for the law of the land and democratic freedom and hatred for the truth itself.
Today, Russia has choked democracy and is attempting to do it elsewhere, not only in its own country. Neighboring countries have been rendered invalid due to fraudulent claims of ethnic unity. Putin even dares to claim that he is ‘denazifying’ Ukraine. He realizes it’s cynical and it’s also disgusting.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected democratically. He is Jewish. The Nazi Holocaust took off his father’s family. And, like all autocrats before him, Putin has the hubris to believe that might make right.
A former president of the U.S. named Abraham Lincoln advocated for preserving our unity during the Civil War. Let us have faith that justice makes might, he urged. It Might come from doing the right thing. Let us rekindle that faith now. Let us commit to using the power of democracies to frustrate the plans of autocracy.
Remember that the test we face at the present moment is the ultimate test of the entire time. Criminals want to paint NATO expansion as an imperial plan to undermine Russia. It is far from the fact; NATO is a defense organization. It has not sought the death of Russia. Before this current conflict, both the United States and NATO worked for months to work with Russia to prevent war. I have personally met with him, and I spoke with him several times over the phone.
Every time, we provided real diplomacy and specific ideas to increase European security, increase confidence, and improve transparency across all sides. However, Putin and Russia responded to each suggestion with a lack of interest in negotiation and threats and lies.
From the start, Russia was hell-bent on violence. I know not everyone believed my colleagues and me when we said they would cross the border and assault. He repeatedly stated that we had no interest in going to war and that he would not move. He has stated numerous times that he will not attack Ukraine. Russian forces stationed along the border were often said to be there for training. Around 180,000 of them.
Russia’s decision to go to war has no legitimacy or provocation. It’s an illustration of one of humanity’s oldest impulses: the use of force and deception to satisfy a desire for total control and power.
It’s nothing less than a direct attack on the rules-based international order established following World War II.
We won’t be able to go back to that point. We are unable to do so. Because of the seriousness of the threat, the West’s response has been unparalleled and overwhelming in its speed, power, and unity. The only way to persuade Russia to alter its course is to impose swift and severe penalties.
Within days after his invasion, the West and Russia joined forces to impose sanctions on Russia’s economy. By halting Russian imports of energy to the U.S., we have struck at the heart of Russia’s economy by blocking exports of Russian energy into the United States. Russia’s Central Bank has been cut off from global banking systems, preventing the Kremlin from accessing the worldwide war budget.
Today, the U.S. has sanctioned 140 Russian Oligarchs and their families, securing their illicit profits, lavish apartments, yachts, and mansions. We have sanctioned over 400 Russian government officials, including the key designers of this war. Oligarchs and government officials have made huge profits from the corruption linked directly to the Kremlin. Now they must take part in the pain.
The private sector has been taken action. Over 400 private multinational corporations have abandoned their operations in Russia. From oil firms to McDonald’s. In the wake of these extraordinary measures, the ruble is nearly reduced to rubble due to these unprecedented sanctions. The Russian economy — it’s true, by the way, that 200 rubles equal to one dollar.
The Russian economy is expected to shrink by half over the next few years. It was ranked; Russia’s economy was the 11th largest economy worldwide before this attack. The country will soon not figure within the world’s top 20 economies.
These economic sanctions, when taken together, form a new kind of economic statecraft with the ability to inflict damage on a scale that matches military force. Russian strength, its ability to replenish its army, and its capacity to assert its power are eroded by international sanctions.
At the same time, the Western world has banded together to support the people of Ukraine with unprecedented levels of economic, military, and humanitarian aid.
The United States had given over $650 million in armaments to Ukraine in the years leading up to the invasion, including anti-armor and anti-air equipment. Since the war, the United States has spent an additional $1.35 billion on ammunition and weapons. And, owing to the Ukrainian people’s heroism and bravery, the weaponry we sent and our colleagues sent has been deployed to defend Ukrainian territory and air space to devastating effect.
Our partners and allies have also stepped up. However, as I have stated, American soldiers are in Europe – but not Europe to fight in the region with Russian forces. American troops are in Europe to protect NATO allies. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with soldiers working together with Polish partners to strengthen NATO’s frontline defenses. We want to emphasize that they are moving in Ukraine and do not think about moving across a single inch within NATO territory. The sacred duty binds us. Under Article 5, we have a sacred commitment to defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of our collective strength.
Yesterday, I was at the national stadium of Ukraine in Kyiv, where more than thousands of Ukrainian refugees are currently trying to find the most difficult questions human beings can ever ask. My God, I am wondering what’s happening to me? What will happen to my entire family? I could see tears in some mothers’ eyes when I embraced them. Their infants and children are uncertain of whether to cry or smile.
A young girl stated Mr. President – she was speaking a bit of English — are my daddy and my brother going to be fine? Will I be able to see them again? Without their fathers, without their husbands. In many instances, siblings and brothers have returned to fight for their nation. I didn’t have to speak or comprehend the language to sense the emotion in their eyes, the way they clutched my hand, and the tiny ones clinging to my leg in a desperate hope that it would all be over soon. Fear that they will separate from their loved ones for the rest of their lives.
However, I was also awed by the kindheartedness of Warsaw residents -and, for that matter, Polish citizens in the extent of their compassion and willingness to extend their hand to open their hearts. I told the mayor that they opened their homes and souls to help.
I would also like to express my gratitude to my dear friend, the famous American chef Jose Ramon Andres, and his team for their assistance in feeding those who want to be at peace. However, helping refugees is not something that Poland and any other country should do on its own. All democracies around the world must assist. And, the Ukrainian people can trust that the U. S. meets its obligation. Two days ago, we welcomed around 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. There are already 8,000 refugees each week arriving in the America of other nationalities. We will offer approximately $300 million in aid to the needy and millions of tons of water, food, medicines, and other basic needs.
I declared that the United States is prepared to give $1 billion more in humanitarian assistance in Brussels city. The World Food Programme (WFP) told us that some help reached Ukraine’s most famous towns despite substantial barriers. But not Mariupol-since Russian forces are preventing humanitarian supplies from reaching the city.
However, we will not give up our efforts to provide humanitarian aid wherever required in Ukraine and for those who have managed to flee the country. Regardless of Vladimir Putin’s harshness, there is little doubt that this conflict has already been a strategic failure for Russia. Having lost kids myself, I understand that this is no consolation to others who have lost their families, but Putin believed Ukrainians would submit and not fight. I am not much of a history buff. Instead, Russian forces have met their match in the form of the courageous and tenacious Ukrainian opposition. Russia’s ruthless actions have boosted Ukrainian determination rather than weakened it. Instead of driving NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) apart, the West is better and more robust than before.
Russia had wished for a smaller NATO presence at its border; however, now it has a more robust and more extensive presence, with more than 100,000 American troops in the area and all other NATO members there. In reality, Russia has managed to bring about something it had no intention of doing. The democratic societies of the world renewed with purpose and a sense of unity that has been achieved in months rather than years.
Not just Russia’s actions in Ukraine serve as a reminder of the benefits of democracy. The Kremlin is imprisoning demonstrators in his own country. 200,000 people are believed to have already departed. Russia is experiencing a brain drain. Also, independent news outlets are being shut down. Propaganda is the sole purpose of state media. Russian troops in Ukraine obstruct images of civilian targets, mass graves, and starvation strategies.
It is not surprising as I stated that more than 200,000 Russians had gone home in a month. In such a short period, there has been a significant brain drain. That leads me to my appeal to the Russian people. I was a close friend of Russian officials for decades. I was a participant at the negotiation table, going all the way up to Soviet Alexei Kosygin to talk about arms control during the height of the Cold War. I have always addressed you, the Russian people, honestly and openly. If you can hear me, I would like to say something. The Russian people are not our adversary. I do not believe you approve of the murder of innocent children and grandparents, that you would accept hospitals or maternity wards, or schools or, for God’s sake, being pounded by Russian bombs and missiles, or cities being closed off to prevent civilians from fleeing. The Supplies are cut off, trying to the starving Ukrainians to submission.
Many families are removed away from their homes, including half of the children of Ukraine. This is not the behavior of a nation that is thriving. Of all the people we can mention, you and the Russian people and all other people across Europe are still able to recall the experience of having experienced similar circumstances in the late 1930s and the ’40s. The events of World War II are still fresh in the minds of many grandparents in the region.
Whatever your generation went through, whether they were present during the Leningrad siege or only heard about it from their parents and grandparents. Train stations are bursting to the seams with frightened families fleeing their homes. Nights spent in cellars and basements. Sifting among the rubble in your dwellings in the mornings. These are not recollections from the past.
On March 26th, 2022, just a few days earlier, we are in the 21st century – we were a nation of the 21st century with dreams and hopes that people across the globe have for their families and themselves. Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hostility has cut you, the Russian people, off from the rest of the world, thus reverting Russia to the 19th century. This isn’t your true self. This is not the kind of future you and your children deserve. This battle is not worthy of you, the Russian people; I tell you the truth. Putin has the ability and responsibility to end this conflict. The people of the United States will stand with you and the heroic folks of Ukraine who seek peace.
The message I want to send out is for the remainder of Europe this time around; the new war for freedom has made some points relatively easy to understand. The first is that Europe should stop relying upon Russian oil and gas. We, the U. S., will also assist. Just yesterday in Brussels, I announced a proposal with the European Commission President to bring Europe through the current energy crisis. In the long run, as a matter of national and economic security and the planet’s survival, we must all transition to clean, renewable energy as rapidly as feasible. And we will work together to make sure that the whims of a despot dictate no country’s energy demands. They have to come to an end.
Second, we must combat Kremlin corruption to provide the Russian citizens with a fair chance. Finally, and most importantly, we must maintain perfect solidarity among democracies. It’s not enough to utter lofty terms like freedom, democracy, liberty, and quality with a rhetorical flourish. Every day, all of us, even those in Poland, must perform the difficult work of democracy — including my own country. I came to Europe this week with a clear and strong message for NATO, the G7, the European Union, and all freedom-loving countries: we must commit now to be in this fight for the long run. Today, tomorrow, and the day after, we must remain united for the decades and many more years. It will not be simple; costs will be incurred. However, it is a price we must pay because the darkness that fuels despotism is ultimately no match for the flame of liberty that enlightens the hearts and minds of free people worldwide.
History has often demonstrated this. The most significant development is made at the darkest moments. And record indicates that this is the responsibility of our generation. Let us not forget that the hammer blow that toppled the Berlin Wall and the force that toppled the Iron Curtain were not the words of a single leader but the people of Europe, who battled for decades to be free. Their bravery allowed the Pan-European Picnic to cross the border between Austria and Hungary. For the Baltic Way, they joined hands. They represented solidarity in Poland. And together, they formed an evident and undeniable people’s force that the Soviet Union could not overcome. And we’re witnessing it now, with the brave Ukrainian people demonstrating that the collective power of many is more significant than the will of any single despot.
So, let Pope John Paul II’s words burn as brightly as today in this hour. Never doubt. Never give up hope. Never get tired. Never let yourself down. Never lose faith. Do not be frightened!
Because free people refuse to live in a society of hopelessness and gloom, Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia. A dictator intent on re-establishing an empire will never be able to suppress a people’s desire for liberty. In the end, brusqueness will not erode their desire for freedom. We will have a new future, one that is based on democracy, hope, principle, light, decency, and dignity, as well as freedom and opportunity.
For God’s sake, this man cannot stay in power. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your patience. God bless every one of you. And may God protect our troops and defend our freedom. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Devoted my whole life to words - reading, writing and trying to be original on social media. Got certified in digital marketing - still not cool enough to be an influencer. Finished a master’s degree focused in Literature, Publishing, Mass Media. Hobbies include traveling, reading and hoping that yoga will be the thing to finally teach me some patience. Would like to take over the world at some point, but that’s an optional dream. Maybe modern tech can help me do that?