Joe Biden will not be visiting Ukraine during his trip to Europe this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday after officials in Kyiv issued an open invitation to the president in the midst of war with Russia.
‘We will have additional details of @potus trip to Europe to announce later today,’ Psaki tweeted.
‘The trip will be focused on continuing to rally the world in support of the Ukrainian people and against President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,’ she continued, ‘but there are no plans to travel into Ukraine.’
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said earlier Sunday that Biden visiting the war-torn country was ‘not on the table.’
‘This is a country at war. I can’t imagine that that would be on the table,’ Thomas-Greenfield told CNN’s State of the Union host Jake Tapper on Sunday morning when asked about Biden visiting Ukraine.
Ahead of the trip this week, Biden was pictured Sunday on a bike ride in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he is visiting his vacation home for the weekend.
President Joe Biden is visiting Europe this week, but will not be making a stop in war-torn Ukraine despite invites from officials to survey the damage from war with Russia. Pictured: Biden takes a bike rid in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on Sunday, March 20, 2022
White House Jen Psaki previewed on Twitter: ‘We will have additional details of @potus trip to Europe to announce later today’
Ukraine is experiencing its 25th day of attack from Russia with the United Nations saying 900 civilians have died since invasion on February 24. Pictured: Ukrainian firefighters and security teams response to a building hit by Russian missiles in Kyiv, Ukraine on Sunday March 20
Meanwhile, President Biden was escorted by his Secret Service entourage during a bike ride in Delaware on a weekend trip to his beach home in Rehoboth Beach ahead of his visit to Brussels for a meeting with NATO allies
Meanwhile, Ukraine was experiencing its 25th day of attack from Russia, which has seen seen the death of 900 civilians, according to the United Nations.
Local authorities in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol say that the Russian military bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken refuge – reducing the building to rubble, although there is no immediate word on casualties.
Terrifying footage emerged apparently showing Russia firing deadly thermobaric TOS-1A rockets, which can allegedly melt human organs.
Authorities in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kharkiv say at least five civilians, including a nine-year-old boy, have been killed in the latest Russian shelling
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief diplomatic adviser Ihor Zhovka said Biden ‘should not be afraid’ to visit Kyiv ‘if you are brave’ enough.
The invitation comes as Biden plans to travel to Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit this upcoming week.
Zhovka has requested that Biden facilitate Ukraine’s upcoming acquisition of U.S. weapons, which include fighter jets and missiles.
The adviser also slammed Ukraine’s allies, alleging Zelensky is ‘disappointed’ in the U.S. and NATO’s apparent rejection to fulfill the nation’s request to impose a no-fly zone over its airspace.
‘If NATO is not able to provide us with a humanitarian no-fly zone, please provide us with fighter jets, please provide us with anti-missile air defense systems,’ Zhovka said during a CNN interview, Mediaite reported. ‘So, my president will keep doing this. He spoke about this in the U.S. Congress. He’s talking about this on a daily basis.’
Biden, who has not publicly issued a decision on Zelensky’s request, was warned earlier this week that imposing the no-fly zone would be an ‘act of war’. It remains unclear how Biden will proceed.
Ukrainian President Zelensky’s chief diplomatic adviser Ihor Zhovkva (pictured) invited Biden to visit Kyiv next week amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country, saying ‘one should not be afraid to – if you are brave’
He explained that Zelenksy is ‘disappointed’ in the U.S. and NATO’s apparent rejection to fulfill Ukraine’s request to impose a no-fly zone over its airspace
Zhovka also noted how leaders of three other nations have visited Kyiv and met with Zelensky.
‘Well, you know, just this week, three prime ministers of three friendly nations – Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovenia – visited, personally, Kyiv, and they met personally with President Zelensky,’ he responded.
‘So why [doesn’t] President Biden come to Ukraine to meet with the president?’
When questioned about the danger of Biden traveling to Kyiv, Zhovka said: ‘Well, definitely it is dangerous when you have a war against my country, a war in Europe.’
It is unclear if Biden will accept Zhovka and Zelensky’s invitation, which comes as Ukraine is set to receive a new shipment of U.S. weapons within days, including javelin and stinger missiles.
‘The (weapons) will be on the territory of our country in the nearest future. We are talking about days,’ Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov confirmed in a televised interview Saturday.
Ukraine’s allies have delivered planeloads of weapons shipments to bolster its military against the Russian invasion. Russia has criticized such deliveries from NATO member states.
The invitation comes as Ukraine is set to receive a new shipment of U.S. weapons within days, including javelin and stinger missiles (Pictured: A residential block destroyed by Russian Missile Strike in Kyiv as seen on Saturday)
Ukraine’s allies have delivered planeloads of weapons shipments to bolster its military against the Russian invasion. Smoke is pictured rising over Kyiv on Saturday
Ukraine and the West claim that Russia’s invasion is floundering in part due to fierce Ukrainian resistance, poor planning and low morale among Russian forces.
According to one US intelligence estimate, 7,000 Russian troops, including four generals, have been killed since the Russian invasion on February 24 and between 14,000 and 21,000 troops have been injured in the fighting.
Moscow’s Defense Ministry says that less than 500 soldiers have been killed.
Ukraine’s military has also suffered heavy losses, likely to be much higher than the 1,300 troops which Kyiv has confirmed as killed.
According to Ukraine’s military, Russia has lost 466 tanks, 115 helicopters, 914 vehicles, 95 aircraft, 213 artillery systems, 44 anti-aircraft weapons and 60 fuel tanks. Russia has not responded to Kyiv’s latest estimates, and the information could not be independently verified.
The estimates come as Russia used its latest hypersonic missile for the first time during its attack on Ukraine, a military spokesman said.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the hypersonic missiles, known as Kinzhal, destroyed an underground warehouse storing missiles and aviation ammunition of Ukrainian troops in the western Ivano-Frankivsk region.
Konashenkov also said the Russian forces used the anti-ship missile system Bastion to strike Ukrainian military facilities near the Black Sea port of Odesa.
Ukrainian soldiers (top) stand guard on a bridge in front of a damaged Russian army car Saturday on the road that leads east of Kyiv
Ukrainians are inspecting a building in Kyiv on Saturday that was partially damaged by Russian missiles
The World Health Organisation said it has verified 43 attacks on hospitals and health facilities, with 12 people killed and 34 injured.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said on Thursday that American officials were evaluating potential war crimes and that if the intentional targeting of civilians by Russia is confirmed, there will be ‘massive consequences’.
The United Nations political chief, undersecretary-general, Rosemary DiCarlo, also called for an investigation into civilian casualties, reminding the UN Security Council that international humanitarian law bans direct attacks on civilians.
She said many of the daily attacks battering Ukrainian cities ‘are reportedly indiscriminate’ and involve the use of ‘explosive weapons with a wide impact area’. DiCarlo said the devastation in Mariupol and Kharkiv ‘raises grave fears about the fate of millions of residents of Kyiv and other cities facing intensifying attacks’.
Hundreds of civilians were said to have taken shelter in a grand, columned theatre in the city’s centre when it was hit on Wednesday by a Russian airstrike. On Friday, their fate was still uncertain, with conflicting reports on whether anyone had emerged from the rubble.
Officials say communications are disrupted across the city and movement is difficult because of shelling and fighting.