The US President will soon embark on the European trip, which will see him visiting Warsaw
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Joe Biden, September, 2021 © Getty Images / Pool
The possibility of the US President Joe Biden visiting Ukraine “was not explored,” but there was a reason behind the decision not to go “into a war zone,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said.
“We have not explored this option,” Psaki said, asked at Monday’s press briefing if a trip to Ukraine has been considered by White House at all. She had taken to Twitter on Sunday to make it clear that Biden had “no plans to travel into Ukraine.”
Biden’s chief spokesperson explained “there was some confusion about this question” and underscored that the travel of any US president “into a war zone” requires not only security considerations but also “an enormous amount of resources on the ground which is always a factor” for the US administration.
“But also the president felt and the security team felt that he could have the most effective and impactful trip by convening these meetings with NATO leaders, the G7, the EU in Brussels to determine both the continued military coordination, humanitarian and economic coordination, as well as by going to visit Poland right next door to talk about everything from refugees, refugee assistance and continued assistance we can all provide together,” said Psaki, adding that the trip was planned in a way to be the “most effective.”
The 79-year-old Biden is scheduled to participate in the NATO summit and other meetings in Brussels on March 24. The following day will see him traveling to Warsaw for a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, to discuss the response to the “humanitarian and human rights crisis” created by the conflict in Ukraine, according to the White House.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to make a “lightning” visit to Kiev, even though his own security services are advising him against such a trip amid worsening security situation in Ukraine’s capital. This is according to the Daily Mail, citing a Whitehall source.
Moscow attacked Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics with capitals in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.