Washington Notified Moscow of Biden’s Kyiv Visit

Emel Akan
By Emel Akan
February 20, 2023Russia–Ukraine War
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Washington Notified Moscow of Biden’s Kyiv Visit
In this handout photo, U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Ukrainian presidential palace in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 20, 2023. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images)

The United States informed Russia about President Joe Biden’s visit to Kyiv hours before his departure, according to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

“We did notify the Russians that President Biden will be traveling to Kyiv. We did so some hours before his departure for deconfliction purposes,” Sullivan told reporters during a conference call.

“And because of the sensitive nature of those communications, I won’t get into how they responded, or what the precise nature of our message was, but I can confirm that we provided that notification,” he said.

On Monday, Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, as a major show of support days before the anniversary of Russia’s invasion. Biden met with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and walked along a street near the renowned St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery.

During his visit, Biden committed an additional $500 million in aid and declared that the United States will continue to stand by Ukraine in the conflict.

According to the White House, the trip was “logistically complicated and difficult.”

“This was a historic visit unprecedented in modern times to have the president of the United States visit the capital of the country at war where the United States military does not control the critical infrastructure,” Sullivan said.

Hence, it took a major security, operational, and logistical effort from professionals across the U.S. government to reduce the level of risk, he noted.

“President Biden felt that it was important to make this trip because of the critical juncture that we find ourselves at as we approached the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”

“This visit was meticulously planned over a period of months, involving several offices in the White House,” principal deputy national security advisor Jon Finer said during the call with the press.

In addition to the absence of a military presence in Ukraine, the United States has a relatively small embassy presence compared to the large operations in Afghanistan and Iraq during wartime visits by presidents, according to Finer, which made the trip unusual and unprecedented.

“The traveling party accompanying the president was extremely small as well consisting basically of a handful of his closest aides, small medical team, photographer, and the security package.”

The White House said it would reveal the president’s mode of transportation and other logistical details after he is safely out of the country.

Both leaders “talked about Ukraine’s needs in terms of energy, infrastructure, economic support, and humanitarian needs,” Sullivan said during the call, adding that the discussion included “the upcoming UN General Assembly session on Ukraine as well as Ukraine’s peace formula and Ukraine’s efforts to rally international support for a just, sustainable, and durable peace.”

On his visit to Ukraine, Biden announced, in addition to the half-billion-dollar aid package, the delivery of howitzer shells, anti-tank missiles, and air surveillance radars, but not the new advanced weaponry that Kyiv had been requesting.

Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly called for Western powers to provide fighter jets. On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference several days ago, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba renewed his request for the jets.

The West has been hesitant to send fighter jets into the conflict zone for fear of an escalation that could spill over into NATO-aligned countries and possibly trigger Article 5 of the NATO alliance, which states that an assault on one is considered an attack on all.

Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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