Biden’s visit sparks hope in Ukraine, but US support waning

(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv left Ukrainians with a sense of renewed hope, but polls suggest some Americans are concerned about how long the U.S. will continue to support Ukraine.

“We are running on one fuel: hope. And today, we’ve got more of this fuel,” said Kira Rudyk, a member of Ukraine’s parliament. “It is so symbolic that President Biden visits Kyiv today, on the nine-year anniversary since Russia’s invasion of Crimea.”

During his five-hour visit, Biden announced an additional half-billion dollars in U.S. assistance — on top of the more than $50 billion already provided — for howitzer shells, anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radars and other aid but no new advanced weaponry.

To Rudyk, the visit, along with the renewed support, signified America’s continued allyship in the fight against Russia.

“I was so happy and so motivated, having another boost of this energy that we need so so badly,” Rudyk said.

The visit was greatly complicated by the fact that Biden was entering a warzone where the U.S. has no control on the ground, a first for a sitting president, according to NewsNation correspondent Allison Harris.

“This also gives a lot of pride, first of all, but a lot of momentum also, to the Ukrainian military to the Ukrainian leadership here showing that after one year of a brutal war, they are able to get a U.S. president safely onto Ukrainian soil, a sense of normalcy,” said Associated Press journalist Phillip Crowther, who joined “NewsNation Live” from Kyiv on Monday.

The majority of Americans appear to be in favor of Biden’s continued support of Ukrainian forces.

“Across all the polls, plurality say that the United States is giving about the right amount (of aid to Ukraine),” said Dina Smeltz, senior fellow of public opinion and foreign policy at Chicago Council of Global Affairs.

However, support from the American people may be dwindling around indefinitely supporting Ukraine while they fight to reclaim their territory. Polling is showing a drop from 58% support in July to 48% in November, according to Smeltz.

Biden’s mission with his visit to Kyiv, which comes before a scheduled trip to Warsaw, Poland, is to underscore that the U.S. is prepared to stick with Ukraine “as long as it takes” to repel Russian forces even as public opinion polling suggests that U.S. and allied support for providing weaponry and direct economic assistance has started to soften.

Biden’s visit was hailed as timely and brave by many, including Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

For Zelenskyy, the symbolism of having the U.S. president stand side by side with him on Ukrainian land as the one-year anniversary of the war nears was highly significant as he prods allies to provide more advanced weaponry and step up delivery.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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