President Biden on Saturday met with Ukrainian refugees who fled their war-ravaged country for Poland, telling them they show the “depth and strength of the human spirit.”
Mr. Biden met with a group of refugees in Warsaw as he witnessed firsthand the effect of the war being waged against Ukraine by Russia.
Since the war began last month, more than 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees have sought safety in Poland. On Friday, Mr. Biden met with humanitarian workers assisting the Ukrainian refugees and lauded their efforts.
The U.S. has provided $1 billion in new humanitarian aid and agreed to accept 100,000 Ukrainian migrants.
Meeting with the refugees in Warsaw, Mr. Biden appeared visibly choked up. He held babies and tapped his chest while speaking with one Ukrainian woman.
One woman who spoke with Mr. Biden told him she was there with her daughter, but her husband and son remain in Ukraine fighting.
“It’s frightening,” she told the president, via a translator. She added that Ukrainian mothers are ready to strangle Russian President Vladimir Putin “with our bare hands.”
Mr. Biden then picked up a little girl and took a selfie with her and her family.
“Thank you for everything,” they repeatedly told Mr. Biden.
“You’re all brave, brave, brave,” Mr. Biden told the family.
After meeting with the refugees, Mr. Biden spoke about the horrors they’ve endured, and praised their bravery.
“I’ve been to an awful lot of places like this, a lot of refugee camps, in my life and I’m always surprised by the depth and strength of the human spirit,” he said. “I mean that sincerely.”
He told reporters that children thanked him for the U.S. efforts to assist Ukraine.
“It just makes you so damn proud,” he said of the childrens’ remarks.
Mr. Biden also evoked his late son, Beau, who died of cancer in 2015 and served tours of duty in Iraq and Kosovo with the Delaware National Guard.
“Each one of the children said something to the effect of ‘say a prayer for my dad, my grandfather, my brother, he’s over there fighting,’” Mr. Biden said. “I remember what it’s like when you have someone in a war zone. Every day you get up and wonder. You pray you don’t get that phone call. They are an amazing group of people.”
Mr. Biden met with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Friday and Saturday to discuss the humanitarian crisis as well as defend Poland from a potential Russian invasion.
At a briefing on humanitarian efforts in Poland on Friday, Mr. Duda profusely thanked Mr. Biden for the assistance provided by the U.S.
“Your presence, Mr. President, here today in the city of Rzeszow is also a great sign of support to us,” Mr. Duda told his U.S. counterpart. “Support in terms of humanitarian assistance, which today is provided to the refugees from Ukraine but also it is provided to us, Poles, who are receiving guests because this is the name we want to apply to them. We do not call them refugees. They’re our guests. Our brothers, our neighbors.”