White House weighs sending senior officials to Ukraine

President Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
President Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

President Biden on Thursday said the White House is discussing sending senior administration officials to Ukraine, which has been under siege for nearly two months since Russia invaded.

“We’re making that decision now,” Biden told reporters when asked if he would send senior officials to Ukraine.

“Are you ready to go?” Biden jokingly asked one reporter. When asked if he himself was ready to go, Biden replied “Yeah,” but he did not appear to be confirming plans to travel there.

Asked aboard Air Force One about Biden’s comments, principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters there are no plans to preview at this time.

“We’re still in discussion deciding this. As you know obviously we’re in contact with the Ukrainian government, with Kyiv every day, pretty regularly,” she said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has encouraged world leaders to visit Kyiv to see the devastation of the Russian invasion and show support for his nation.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Zelensky and walked the streets of Kyiv this week, prompting renewed speculation about whether Biden or another White House official might do the same in the coming weeks.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday the administration is “not currently planning a trip by the president of the United States to Ukraine.”

“What is most important to the Ukrainian leadership is that we are expediting weapons and getting them the assistance and security systems they need. And that is what our focus is on,” she said.

Biden visited Poland last month, where he met with refugees roughly 100 miles from the Ukraine border. Vice President Harris also visited Poland last month and met with refugees, but she did not go into Ukraine.

Security concerns would likely play a major factor in whether to send any U.S. official to Ukraine, and multiple reports have indicated the administration is unlikely to send Biden or Harris at this time.

Tags Boris Johnson Jen Psaki Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Biden Kamala Harris Karine Jean-Pierre Karine Jean-Pierre Russia Ukraine Ukraine crisis Ukraine invasion Ukraine war Volodymyr Zelensky

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