In the wake of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson dropping in for a surprise visit in Kyiv, Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, American reporters quickly turned to the White House to inquire about President Joe Biden’s intentions to do the same.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the frail U.S. president apparently has no plans on doing the same, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Fox News reports.
As the war in Ukraine inches near the two-month mark, the White House said that it will continue sending weapons systems and money to the country to assist in its efforts to fend off the Russian invaders.
“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 told reporters Monday.
PM Johnson’s visit
The UK prime minister was praised on social media for braving a trip to Kyiv in the middle of a Russian invasion.
Johnson, as he walked next to Zelensky through the streets of Kyiv while talking to local residents, were both described as courageous and a prime example of what strong and effective leadership looks like.
At a handshake distance. @BorisJohnson and @ZelenskyyUa walked through the center of Kyiv and talked to ordinary Kyivans. This is what democracy looks like. This is what courage looks like. This is what true friendship between peoples and between nations looks like. pic.twitter.com/ZcdL6NqNp2
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 9, 2022
It’s clear that Johnson doesn’t have the same type of handlers that Biden does, as last month during Biden’s trip to Poland for a NATO summit, he told reporters “they will not let me” cross into Ukraine, similar to his admissions during press conferences that he’ll be “in trouble” for taking off-script questions.
“Part of my disappointment is that I can’t see it first hand like I have in other places,” the U.S. president added at the time, drawing sharp contrast as a U.S. president between him and Donald Trump, who probably told his handlers to buzz off when he stepped into North Korea with Kim Jong Un in 2018.
Future plans for Kyiv
In the lead-up to the Russian invasion, the U.S. State Department pulled personnel out of Ukraine, and it’s not clear when America will once again have a presence in the country.
“We’re going to have to assess when it’s the right time to do exactly that,” Psaki said when asked about the situation, noting that there are currently no timeline predictions on the table.
“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 added.