CNN senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt said Monday that no explosions or air sirens were heard in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, until President Joe Biden made a surprise visit.
Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv for about five hours on Monday and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion. The White House had previously denied that the president made any plans to visit Ukraine ahead of his scheduled trip to Warsaw, Poland.
“I’ve been here for the past five days,” Marquardt said. “I have not heard any explosions, I have not heard any air sirens until about a half an hour ago, right when President Biden was in the center of Kyiv.”
The president and Zelenskyy made a public appearance on the streets of Kyiv despite the air-raid siren triggered by a Russian MIG fighter taking off from Belarus, a country which borders Ukraine in the north. The sound stopped toward the end of Biden’s visit to St. Michael’s monastery in the city’s downtown where the president paid his respects to the approximately 4,500 fallen Ukrainian soldiers since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the New York Times reported. (RELATED: Biden’s Mixed Signals On Ukraine Aid Suggest Kyiv Must Earn Congress’ Future Support, Experts Say)
The White House notified Russia of the president’s trip several hours before he arrived to the embattled country.
In joint remarks with Zelenskyy, the president announced $500 million in additional aid to Ukraine, including Javelin missiles, artillery ammunition and air surveillance radars, The Hill reported.
“Together, we’ve committed nearly 700 tanks and thousands of armored vehicles. 1,000 artillery systems, more than 2 million rounds of artillery ammunition, more than 50 advanced launch rocket systems, anti-ship and air defense systems, all to defend Ukraine,” Biden said. “And that doesn’t count the other half a billion dollars we’re announcing with you today and tomorrow that’s going to be coming your way.”