President Biden on Friday hailed the efforts of humanitarian workers in Poland who are assisting refugees and aiding those who remain in war-torn Ukraine.
He said the plight of children caught up in the devastation of war was especially heartbreaking.
“It’s just devastating to see those little babies, little children, looking at mothers who — you don’t have to understand the language they speak and seeing in their eyes the pain of watching their children,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything worse for a parent than to see a child suffering.”
“And so what you, the humanitarian community are doing is of such enormous consequence,” he continued. “This is what we say we are about.”
Mr. Biden made the comments with Polish President Andrzej Duda at his side during a briefing on humanitarian efforts in Rzeszow, a city in southeastern Poland about an hour from the Ukraine border. Critical goods like flood, blankets, cash and medicine are in short supply, Mr. Biden said.
On Thursday, the Biden administration announced that it would commit more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukrainians and the U.S. will accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Mr. Biden expressed disappointment that he would not be allowed to witness firsthand the devastation wrought by the Russian invasion.
“They will not let me, understandably, I’m guessing, cross the border and take a look at what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said. “But I’m eager to hear from you in the humanitarian community about what you see, what you’re doing, and where you think we go from here.”
Poland has borne the brunt of the refugee crisis with more than 2 million Ukrainians flooding the country. A total of 3.6 million Ukrainians have fled into neighboring countries, according to the U.N.
While Poland has welcomed and supported Ukrainian refugees, the influx has begun to strain the nation’s infrastructure. Cities like Warsaw have seen their population grow by an estimated 300,000 people.