Why President Biden’s trip to Ukraine is significant 

President Biden’s surprise, brief visit to Ukraine signals the United States’ enduring support – and along with that of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – for the embattled nation just as we reach the first anniversary of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, according to Ohio State historian Christopher McKnight Nichols.  

The trip also marks a particularly historic presidential state visit and moment of diplomacy under stress. For the first time in recent history, at great risk, the U.S. president entered a country at war and a capital city subject to frequent bombardment without the full military presence that has protected past leaders visiting Iraq and Afghanistan, said Nichols, who is the Wayne Woodrow Hayes Chair in National Security Studies at Ohio State. 

This visit, touring the streets, with photo ops and handshakes, along with renewed pledges of financial and military equipment support, represent the sort of national and personal gestures of solidarity that have symbolic staying power, said Nichols, who is available to discuss the significance of Biden’s visit.