White House press secretary Jen Psaki has followed up on Joe Biden’s remarks on Thursday indicating that he is “ready” to go to Ukraine if the opportunity presents itself, after reports emerged that the US was considering sending a “high-ranking” official.
Biden is not hopping a plane to Kyiv any time soon it seems.
Psaki spoke on Thursday night at a live taping of the progressive “Pod Save America” podcast in Washington, DC, Politico reports in its handy daily email newsletter.
“He’s ready for anything — the man likes fast cars and aviators,” Psaki said, referring to Biden’s signature style of sunglasses. “He’s ready to go to Ukraine – we are not sending the president to Ukraine.”
When Biden was in Poland last month, he gave all the signs that he wanted to visit Ukraine and hinted he might go, but it did not happen and it appeared that it was too dangerous at that time.
That was before Russian forces withdrew from their advance on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
Since the withdrawal, a number of European leaders have visiting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv including, last weekend, British prime minister Boris Johnson, with images whirling around the world of him walking the streets with Zelenskiy after a meeting and press conference.
Blinken briefly crossed onto Ukrainian soil in early March, while visiting the Polish border, but it was essentially an entirely symbolic gesture of solidarity.
Here is Psaki in her normal professional public setting.
United States warned by Russia to stop arming Ukraine
Amid Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine and fresh US pledges to send more weapons to the embattled Ukrainians, Moscow has sent what is being termed a formal diplomatic note to Washington warning that more American military aid is “adding fuel” to the bitter war, the Washington Post reports, pointing out that the outlet has seen the relevant memo.
We call on the United States and its allies to stop the irresponsible militarization of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security,” the diplomatic memo said.
Russia warned that American supplies and other NATO deliveries of what Moscow called the “most sensitive” weapons systems were “adding fuel” to the situation in Ukraine and could bring “unpredictable consequences.”
The package will include artillery systems, such as howitzer guns, artillery rounds, and armored personnel carriers, the White House announced, in addition to helicopters, coastal defense drones and more anti-tank and anti-aircraft defensive weapons, “tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement.
The US is also facilitating other long-range systems to be supplied by allies.
The diplomatic note from Moscow is understood to have been sent on Tuesday of this week. The additional military aid brought the total provided by the US to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion to $3.2 billion, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said and the Washington Post further reported.
The memo is titled: “On Russia’s concerns in the context of massive supplies of weapons and military equipment to the Kiev regime.”
It was written in Russian with a translation provided and arrived at the US State Department via Russia’s US embassy.
You can read the rest of the Post’s article here.
Putin warns Biden to stop arming Ukraine
Good morning, US politics live blog readers, it’s Friday morning in Washington, DC, and Congress is on recess but there’s plenty going on in the nation’s capital.
Here’s what’s rumbling so far:
- Russia is warning the US to stop its escalation of military supplies to Ukraine as it continues efforts to repel Russia’s invasion of its southern neighbor. There’s been a “formal diplomatic note” from Moscow. The Washington Post has seen it.
- White House press secretary Jen Psaki told a podcast that, while Joe Biden may be “ready” to go to Ukraine (as he mentioned yesterday to reporters waiting near Air Force One) “we are not sending the president to Ukraine”.
- Bill Browder, a prominent critic of Vladimir Putin, is having a round table in Washington and his new book concludes on the Russian leader and his wealthy oligarchs: “This is an organized crime story.”
- Top Donald Trump anti-immigration right-winger Stephen Miller had a long and contentious interaction with the special House of Representatives committee investigating the Trump-fueled insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
- Various prominent Democratic operatives are warning that voters are concerned that their party can’t/won’t get its act together before the mid-term elections this November but are also saying that Trump’s endorsing wingnuts is going to do them a favor.
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