Washington notified Moscow of Biden’s visit to Kiev

The United States notified Russia of President Joe Biden’s visit to Kiev hours before departure, according to White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

“President Biden has notified the Russians that he will be traveling to Kiev,” Sullivan told reporters on a conference call.

“And because these communications are highly sensitive, we don’t know how they reacted or the exact nature of our message, but we can confirm that we provided that notice. increase.

On Monday, Biden made an unannounced visit to Kiev, Ukraine, as a major show of support just days before Russia’s Invasion Day. Mr. Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and walked the streets near the famous St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery.

During the visit, Biden pledged an additional $500 million in aid and declared that the United States would continue to support Ukraine in the conflict.

The trip was “logistically complex and difficult,” according to the White House.

“It was a historic visit, unprecedented in modern times, for a president of the United States to visit the capital of a warring country whose critical infrastructure is not controlled by the U.S. military,” Sullivan said.

Lowering the level of risk therefore required a significant effort on security, operations and logistics by experts across the U.S. government, he noted.

“President Biden felt it was important to make this visit, as one year has passed since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and we are facing the critical times we are all facing. .”

“This visit has been meticulously planned over several months, involving several White House offices,” Chief Deputy National Security Adviser John Finner said in a call with the press. said in

In addition to having no military presence in Ukraine, the United States has a relatively small embassy presence, compared to large operations in Afghanistan and Iraq during the president’s wartime visit, Finner said. that made this visit unusual and unprecedented.

“The traveling party that accompanied the president was very small, basically consisting of his closest entourage, a small medical team, a photographer, and a security package.”

The White House said it would reveal the president’s transportation and other logistical details after he is safely out of the country.

Sullivan said in a conference call that the two leaders “discussed the needs of Ukraine in terms of energy, infrastructure, economic assistance and humanitarian needs”, adding that the discussion included “the next UN General Assembly session on Ukraine, the and Ukraine’s peace strategy,” he added. Efforts to mobilize international support for a just, sustainable and lasting peace. ”

During his visit to Ukraine, Biden announced a $500 million aid package, plus howitzers, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft surveillance radars, but not the new advanced weapons that Kiev was demanding.

Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly asked Western countries for fighter planes. A few days ago on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba updated his request for jets.

Western powers have been reluctant to send fighter jets to conflict zones for fear of escalation that could spill over into NATO member states and trigger Article 5 of the NATO alliance. .

Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.