WATCH: Biden meets with 82nd Airborne Division service members

President Joe Biden is on a visit to Poland where he is meeting with that country’s leader to discuss the Ukrainian refugee crisis but his first stop was meeting with soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division, telling them the nation “owes you big.”

Watch Biden’s remarks in the player above.

During his remarks to the service members he also borrowed the words of the late Secretary of State Madeline Albright to underscore their place in a fragile moment for the U.S. and its European allies.

“The secretary of state used to have an expression. She said, ‘We are the essential nation,'” Biden told the troops. “I don’t want to sound philosophical here, but you are in midst of a fight between democracy and an an oligarch.”

The American military commitment in Poland was apparent as soon as Air Force One touched down, rolling past Patriot missile batteries. More hardware, including heavy trucks and other equipment painted with dark green and brown camouflage, was present at the airport. A nearby convention center serves as a base for the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

While visiting the 82nd Airborne troops he stopped at a barber shop and dining facility where he invited himself to sit down and share some pizza. The Americans are serving alongside Polish troops.

With the troops, he shared an anecdote about visiting his late son, Beau Biden, while he was deployed in Baghdad and going by his mother’s maiden name so as not to draw attention to himself. The president jokingly razzed one service member about his standard-issue short haircut and seriously praised the troops, too.

“You are the finest fighting force in the world and that’s not hyperbole,. Biden said.

Biden will be in Warsaw on Saturday for further talks with Polish leaders and others.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden was looking to hear directly from the American troops and humanitarian experts about the situation on the ground and “what further steps need to be taken to make sure that we’re investing” U.S. dollars in the right place.

Biden, who spent Thursday lobbying U.S. allies to stay united against Russia, speculated that what he sees in Poland “will reinforce my commitment to have the United States make sure we are a major piece of dealing with the relocation of all those folks, as well as humanitarian assistance needed both inside Ukraine and outside Ukraine.”

Speaking in Brussels after meetings with other world leaders, Biden said he had visited many war zones and refugee camps during his political career and “it’s devastating” to see young children without parents or men and women with blank looks on their faces wondering,

“My God, where am I? What’s going to happen to me?”

He said Poland, Romania and Germany shouldn’t be left on their own to deal with the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

“This is an international responsibility,” Biden said shortly after he announced $1 billion in additional assistance to help Ukrainian refugees.

He also announced that the United States would take in up to 100,000 of those refugees. The White House has said most Ukrainian refugees eventually want to return home.