Psaki backtracks on Biden trip to Ukraine: ‘We are not sending the president’

‘No, that is not in the plans for the President of the United States’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Friday 15 April 2022 16:42 BST
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President Joe Biden may say he’s ready to visit Ukraine, but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said he won’t be going anytime soon.

On Thursday, Mr Biden told reporters he and his advisers had not yet decided on whether to dispatch a high-level emissary to Ukraine as a show of support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine’s efforts to beat back a Russian invasion.

Asked whether he was ready to make the trip himself, Mr Biden replied: “Yeah”.

But Ms Psaki poured cold water on the idea of a presidential trip to Kyiv hours later when she appeared at a Washington, DC theatre for a live taping of the Pod Save America podcast.

Mr Biden, she said, is “ready for anything” and is “ready to go to Ukraine”.

But she immediately added: “We are not sending the president to Ukraine”.

Calls for the president to personally visit Kyiv have grown in recent days following UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s headline-grabbing walkabout with Mr Zelensky on the streets of Kyiv last week, and following a joint visit to Kyiv by the leaders of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Yet Ms Psaki shot down the idea that Mr Biden would be able to make a similar journey as easily as Mr Johnson or other European leaders.

“What I will tell you is that, what Boris Johnson did is he took, I believe, an eight-hour train through a war zone to get to the middle of Ukraine,' she said. 'So, no that is not in the plans for the president of the United States”.

She added that Mr Biden “has got a few other things to do” at the moment.

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