Biden travels to Poland to reveal the human cost of Russia’s war against Ukraine
US President Joe Biden makes a statement on Russia with the President of the European Commission at the US Heads of Mission residence in Brussels on March 25, 2022.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
President Joe Biden will land in Rzeszów, Poland, on Friday to begin the second leg of his emergency trip to Europe, a month after the unprovoked invasion of either Russia or Ukraine.
After a day of NATO and G-7 summits in Brussels that focused on military preparedness and punitive measures against Russia, Biden’s visit to Poland offers the President an opportunity to highlight the human cost of Russia’s increasingly brutal war.
Over the course of the two days in Poland, Biden is expected to meet some of the more than 3.7 million refugees who have had to flee Ukraine, the vast majority of whom are women and children.
Biden will also meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda to discuss the deepening humanitarian crises in the countries surrounding Ukraine, which are bearing the brunt of the refugee flows.
Poland, which shares a 530-kilometer land border with Ukraine, is itself at the epicenter of Europe’s unfolding migrant crisis and has taken in over 2.2 million people — almost two-thirds of all refugees — in the month since the war broke out.
Several other countries on Ukraine’s southwestern border have also received large numbers of migrants, including Romania with over 570,000, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia.
This has placed a significant strain on authorities, health systems and humanitarian agencies as host countries press for greater financial support from Western allies to support the still-growing number of arrivals.
Biden is sometimes called America’s “comforter chief” in the States because of his ability to empathize with people who have experienced great tragedy, something that Biden, a remarried widower who has lost two of his four children, can identify with personally .
On Thursday, Biden announced the US is ready to provide more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians who remain in the country and those who have become refugees.
“Many Ukrainian refugees will want to stay in Europe, closer to home,” Biden said, so they can quickly return to Ukraine after the war ends.
For those looking to relocate to the US, however, Biden said the country is ready to take in 100,000 Ukrainians “with a focus on family reunification.”
As the war rages on and the Russian military makes no significant advances, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tactics become increasingly barbaric.
As Biden left for Europe on Wednesday, the United States government formally accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine and said those responsible should be prosecuted.
In announcing official US determination, Secretary of State Antony Blinken repeatedly referred to the brutality in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, comparing it to similar Russian campaigns against Grozny in the Second Chechen War and Aleppo during the Syrian Civil War.
“Russia’s armed forces have destroyed homes, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping malls and ambulances, killing or wounding thousands of innocent civilians,” Blinken said in a statement.
Many of the buildings hit by Russian forces are “clearly identifiable as being used by civilians,” Blinken said, citing bombings at the Mariupol Maternity Hospital and a theater there, clearly spelled out with the Russian-language word for children “in large letters visible” was marked out of heaven.”
— CNBC’s Karen Gilchrist contributed to this article.