President Biden delivered what his advisers called a “significant speech” Saturday to wrap up three days of diplomacy in Europe as the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its second month.
“Be not afraid,” Biden said, quoting Pope John Paul II when the first Polish pontiff was elected to the papacy in 1978.
“It was a message about the power of faith, the power of resilience, the power of the people,” he said — “a message that will overcome this unjust war.”
Biden spoke outside the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, which was dramatically lit for the occasion by blue floodlights. Huge American and Polish flags were draped over the building’s red stone facade.
Biden’s high stakes speech came on the heels of emergency summit meetings in Brussels with NATO allies and the European Commission, where he announced a plan to punish Moscow by cutting Europe’s use of Russian energy — an idea that has received pushback from Germany and others.
The president spoke just hours after he conferred with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who had traveled secretly to Warsaw to meet with Biden in person.
“We did receive additional promises from the United States on how our defense co-operation will evolve,” Kuleba told reporters.
They also discussed potential new sanctions, Kuleba said — including the possibility of barring Russian vessels and goods from all American and European ports.
Kuleba and his colleagues remained in Warsaw to attend Biden’s speech Saturday.