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The White House is “not currently planning a trip” for President Biden to visit Ukraine, but instead is focused on “expediting weapons” and sending military assistance and security systems to the country amid Russia’s more than two-month multi-front war.
During the White House press briefing Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether the president has asked to travel to Ukraine.
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“I’m not going to get into private conversations,” Psaki said. “What I will tell you is we’re 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,” Psaki added.
The comments from the White House come after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv. Johnson was seen in videos shared by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense walking down the streets of the capital alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and speaking with locals.
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The president traveled to Warsaw, Poland last month after an emergency NATO summit.
During his visit, Biden said “they will not let me” cross the border into Ukraine.
“Part of my disappointment is that I can’t see it first hand like I have in other places,” Biden said last month, referring to the humanitarian crisis and destruction in Ukraine.
“They will not let me, understandably, I guess, cross the border and take a look at what’s going on in Ukraine,” Biden said.
It is unclear who Biden was referring to, but the president is likely not traveling into Ukraine due to security reasons.
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Last month, prime ministers Mateusz Moravetsky of Poland, Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic and Janez Jansa of Slovenia traveled to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
Meanwhile, the White House on Monday said it intends, “over the course of time” to return its diplomatic presence to Kyiv.
“We’re going to have to assess when it’s the right time to do exactly that,” Psaki said, noting she did not have a “prediction” of when that would be.
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“Obviously, it’s in our interest to have a diplomatic presence on the ground, but that is an assessment made by the state Department made through the prism of security considerations,” she explained.
Psaki maintained, however, that the “most important thing” the United States “has done and continues to do” is “lead the entire global coalition in standing up against Russia and ensuring we are providing military security assistance, expediting that, tapping into, not only our own resources, but the resources of countries around the world, and leading the world in a package of economic sanctions.”
Security aid is continuing to flow into Ukraine unabated, with senior defense officials telling Fox News last week that “everything we’re doing in respect to Ukraine is being expedited – everything.”
The Biden administration announced $300 million in security assistance and lethal aid earlier this month, which is separate from the $800 million previously authorized. The additional aid is expected to be used to buy weapons from defense contractors, an official said.
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.