Whereas most of Washington slept, President Joe Biden arrived in Kyiv round 8 a.m. native time Monday.
The dramatic display of solidarity with Ukraine was the end result of months of planning by a small workforce of administration officers. A ultimate determination got here in a Oval Workplace assembly Friday to transfer ahead with a secret trip to war-torn Ukraine forward of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The mission posed extraordinary dangers. Though previous presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama made shock visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, this was the primary presidential trip to a war zone in which the U.S. didn’t have a army presence.
“I believed it was vital that there not be any doubt, none in any respect, about U.S. help for Ukraine within the war,” Biden stated at 9 a.m. native time alongside Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenzkyy, who had greeted him half-hour earlier on the Mariinsky Palace.
Biden – donning Ukraine’s colours with a blue and yellow striped tie – spent about 5 hours in Ukraine in the course of the whirlwind trip earlier than departing for Poland, which White Home officers insisted final week could be Biden’s solely vacation spot throughout his three-day swing to Europe.
When did Biden go away for Kyiv?
The secret journey started almost 20 hours earlier when – in a deviation from Biden’s public schedule – the president arrived at Andrews Air Face base at about 4 a.m. ET Sunday. He boarded Air Power One with two reporters and a small group of White Home officers together with Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan and Deputy Chief of Workers Jen O’Malley Dillon.
“The trip from Washington was a trip full of actual anticipation that this was an vital second, and that the president was rising to the second and felt he had an vital mission to undertake and he was keen to do it,” Sullivan stated.
It’s unclear whether or not Biden traveled instantly to Ukraine or stopped first in Poland, and the White Home has not recognized the mode of transportation that took Biden to Kyiv.
For safety causes, the 2 reporters who flew with Biden – a pool reporter from the Wall Avenue Journal and a reporter from the Related Press – agreed not to present real-time updates on Biden’s actions. The White Home has declined to talk about the logistics of Biden’s trip till it concludes.
Even in its official steerage, the White Home maintained Biden could be leaving for Poland on Monday night.
As Biden flew throughout the Atlantic Ocean, Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby made the rounds on the Sunday morning discuss exhibits, making no point out that Biden could be touchdown in Ukraine the subsequent morning.
US alerted Russia about trip for ‘deconfliction functions’
“Thanks for coming,” Zelenskyy stated, greeting Biden exterior the palace. “This dialog brings us nearer to the victory.”
In joint remarks with Zelenskyy, Biden dedicated an extra $500 million in safety help to Ukraine. It adopted a assembly by which the 2 leaders mentioned the subsequent steps of the war.
Biden and Zelenskky later visited St. Michael’s Gold-Domed Cathedral, spending about 10 minutes inside, as air raid sirens blasted exterior. They then laid a wreath on the Wall of Remembrance to honor the nation’s fallen troopers.
“One year later, Kyiv stands. And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands,” Biden stated.
After visiting the U.S. Embassy Kyiv at midday native time, Biden entered the motorcade and it began rolling roughly 45 minutes later to an undisclosed location. He then departed Kyiv, in accordance to the White Home.
Sullivan stated Russia was notified that Biden could be touring to Kyiv “some hours earlier than his departure for deconfliction functions.” Sullivan didn’t supply particulars on the message nor the response from Russia due to “the delicate nature of these communications.”
Biden Kyiv trip ‘meticulously deliberate’ for months
Deputy Nationwide Safety Advisor Jon Finer stated the go to was “meticulously deliberate over a interval of months,” with involvement from the White Home, NSC, members of the Pentagon, Secret Service and intelligence group.
Finer stated Biden was totally briefed on every stage of the plan and of any potential contingencies. He stated they made the ultimate determination to go to Kyiv in a huddle within the Oval OfficeFriday.
“Clearly, this was all labored very carefully between the White Home and the best ranges of the Ukrainian authorities, who’ve turn into fairly adept at internet hosting excessive stage guests, though not one fairly like this,” Finer stated.
Contributing: Related Press
Attain Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Ukraine-Russia war: the planning into Biden’s secret trip to Kyiv