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President Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday, an audacious and somewhat risky trip aimed at expressing solidarity with Ukrainians as Russia's invasion of their country heads into a second year.

Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and announced a half a billion dollars of additional assistance to Ukraine — and said there would be new sanctions on Russia — with details to be released in coming days.

"One year later, Kyiv stands. And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands," Biden said.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said that the White House notified the Russians of the trip "some hours" ahead of his departure for "deconfliction purposes." On a call with reporters, Sullivan would not go into details about how the Russians responded or the nature of the U.S. message.

Biden's visit comes as Russian forces make a new push to take control of Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, which Russia illegally annexed last September.

Biden had been slated to travel to Warsaw this week to mark the anniversary of the war and to hold a series of meetings with central European allies. Instead, he secretly left Washington early on Sunday morning. Details of how he got to Ukraine were not immediately available due to security concerns.

Sullivan told reporters that Biden's trip to Kyiv was "historic" and "unprecedented" for a sitting president given that the U.S. does not have a military presence on the ground there and only a limited embassy presence. While the trip was risky, Sullivan said Biden was confident that his security team was able to bring the risk to a "manageable level."

The plan for Biden's visit has been in the works for months between the White House and a limited number of people from the Pentagon, the Secret Service and the intelligence community.

Biden has been scheduled to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and give remarks in Warsaw on Tuesday.

Biden has since left Kyiv

Biden has since left the capital. Kyiv has been the target of Russian missile and drone strikes, including as recently as Feb. 10.

Only three officials as well one reporter and one photographer traveled with Biden. A small group of reporters already inside Ukraine — including NPR's Joanna Kakissis — joined Biden after his arrival at 8 a.m. local time.

Zelenskyy called it "a huge moment for Ukraine" and "a historical moment for our country."

Biden met with Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace. Then, the two leaders walked together outside St. Michael's cathedral in central Kyiv. Air raid sirens were heard across the city as they left the church.

"I thought it was critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about U.S. support for Ukraine in the war," Biden said, emphasizing bipartisan support in Congress for Ukraine.

Sullivan, who traveled with Biden to Kyiv, said Biden was excited about that trip and that during the flight was focused on making the most of his limited time on the ground.

Sullivan said the trip was "filled with real anticipation that this was an important moment, and that the president was rising to the moment and felt he had an important mission to undertake and he wanted to do it."

Biden has marshalled international support for Ukraine, sending billions of dollars of weapons and economic aid to Kyiv and uniting allies and partners around economic sanctions meant to punish Moscow for the invasion. The U.S. Congress appropriated more than $112 billion in defense, economic and humanitarian aid last year.

But with no end to the war in sight, polls show a growing number of Americans are concerned about how much money has gone to the war — and some Republican budget hawks have said they would like to curtail the spending.

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