The White House on Monday confirmed that President Joe Biden (left) does not have plans to travel to Kyiv despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s (right) request (Pictures: Reuters/Getty Images)
Zelensky invited Biden to visit, but a senior Ukrainian official told CNN early Monday that US officials said a trip would be ‘highly unlikely’.
On Monday afternoon, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that is the case.
‘We don’t have travel to confirm right now,’ Jean-Pierre told reporters when asked during her briefing.
She added of Biden’s schedule currently: ‘It’s certainly not confirming to go visit Ukraine.’
‘Our focus right now is to continue to have the conversations on the staff level, to continue to make sure we keep that door to diplomacy open,’ Jean-Pierre said. ‘There’s human lives at stake, is what we told President Putin. How do we stop a war – that’s our focus.’
While Biden does not plan to visit Ukraine anytime soon, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Kyiv on Monday for discussions with Zelensky on the crisis. Olaf, who met with Biden in the White House earlier this month, also plans to travel to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in an effort to prevent a war.
Zelensky has asked for more military and financial support from the US, after the Biden administration sent hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military aid and defense equipment over the past two months.
Biden and Zelensky spoke for about an hour on Sunday and the US vowed ‘swift and decisive’ action if Russia moves to further invade Ukraine.
On Monday, Zelensky called for a national show of resistance on Wednesday as reports swirled that it could be the day that Russia attacks. Zelensky referred to intelligence indicating that Russia could start invading in days, but Ukrainian officials later downplayed how seriously they are taking that threat.
Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on Monday and agreed that a ‘crucial window for diplomacy’ is still open.
Jean-Pierre reiterated that ‘we are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time’.
‘The path for diplomacy remains available,’ she said. ‘But we are clear-eyed about the prospects on the ground.’
Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops at its border with Ukraine.
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