One year later: Democracy stands in Ukraine

In a historic visit, President Biden traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, February 20 to reaffirm the United States’ “unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”

Two days earlier, at the Munich Security Conference, Vice President Harris called for accountability for the crimes members of Russia’s forces and other Russian officials have committed against the people of Ukraine.

Biden’s visit to Kyiv was four days before the one-year mark since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“One year later, Kyiv stands. Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. America — and the world — stands with Ukraine,” the president said after meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace.

Over the last year, the United States has built a coalition of nations to help defend Ukraine with military, economic and humanitarian support — “and that support will endure,” Biden said.

Crimes against humanity in Ukraine

On February 18 at the Munich Security Conference, Harris likewise reiterated U.S. commitment to Ukraine, noting, “The transatlantic Alliance is stronger than ever.”

Harris told the conference that the United States and the world have moral and strategic interests in supporting Ukraine.

From the starting days of this war, she said, the world witnessed Russian forces engage in atrocities. “And let us be clear: Russian forces have pursued a widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population — gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape, and deportation. Execution-style killings, beatings, and electrocution.”

Russian authorities also have forcibly deported hundreds of thousands of people from Ukraine to Russia and separated children from their families, she said.

Harris, who spent most of her career as a prosecutor, said, “In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence. We know the legal standards. And there is no doubt these are crimes against humanity.”

She said the United States supports the judicial process in Ukraine and international investigations. “Justice must be served.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said February 18 the United States reserves crimes against humanity determinations for the most egregious crimes. He said the determination underlines “staggering extent of the human suffering inflicted by Moscow on the Ukrainian civilian population.”