Biden will not visit Kiev – White House


The president will not visit Kiev, but US lawmakers are in the Ukrainian capital to demand more weapons

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that President Joe Biden will not visit Ukraine, a day after Biden himself said he is ready to make the trip. A procession of world leaders has traveled to Kiev in recent weeks, and while Biden will not join them, Republican lawmakers are already demanding more guns for the Zelensky administration.

Asked on Thursday if he is ready to travel to Kiev, Biden told a reporter “Yes.” However, Psaki appeared on the Pod Save America podcast a day later to pour cold water on these ostensible plans.

‘He is ready for anything’ Psaki said of Biden, before adding: “We are not sending the president to Ukraine.”

While Biden has pledged US support to the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a trip to Poland last month was the closest to Ukraine since Russia launched its military offensive there in February. Psaki said on Friday that actually entering Ukraine from Poland is a… “eight hour train through war zone”, something that is “not in the plans for the US president.”

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Republican legislators hammered Biden earlier this week for not visiting Kiev, especially after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Zelensky there last weekend. In addition to Johnson, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also visited the Ukrainian capital, as did the leaders of Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Then, as now, the White House insisted that Biden not follow in Johnson’s footsteps. Instead of, “He sits daily in the Oval Office and in the Situation Room, organizing and coordinating the world when it comes to the supply of weapons,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told NBC News on Sunday.

However, the White House is considering sending a top official — likely Secretary of State Tony Blinken or Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — to Kiev as a show of support, Politico reported Wednesday.

Biden on Wednesday authorized the last US arms shipment to Ukraine. The $800 million package includes heavy artillery, helicopters and autonomous kamikaze drones. According to a CNN report from Friday, the first flight of this shipment is expected to arrive in the region within a day.

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