Biden administration officials plan to send Vice President Kamala Harris to Warsaw and Bucharest in the coming weeks as Ukraine attempts to repel an invasion by Russia.
Sources familiar with the conversations told The Hill on Thursday that the White House is considering sending Harris to visit troops stationed in Romania and possibly visit the country’s border with Ukraine to observe the humanitarian crisis there.
A source said the trip could take place in the coming weeks and added there was no talk of President Biden being sent to Europe.
“A presidential visit is a heavier logistical lift,” the source told the outlet. “Vice President has a smaller footprint and is historically more nimble.”
While the administration has yet to announce any plans regarding a potential trip to Eastern Europe, a White House official told the Post that Harris “has been deeply involved in the administration’s engagement with allies and partners”.
Earlier this week, Harris spoke with Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Romanian leaders in separate calls to discuss the Russian attack and affirm the administration’s support for the Kyiv government and Kyiv’s allies. NATO from Washington.
“You can expect the vice president to continue to engage with his allies and partners on these issues,” the official said.
News of the talks came the same day Secretary of State Antony Blinken left for a six-day trip to Belgium, Poland, Moldova and the Baltic states.
“The trip continues extensive consultations and coordination with our NATO allies and European partners on the Russian Federation’s continued premeditated, unprovoked, and unwarranted war against Ukraine,” according to the State Department. .
While in Poland and Moldova – Ukraine’s direct neighbors – Blinken is expected to meet local government leaders, including Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau and Moldovan President Maia Sandu.
At both meetings, Blinken is expected to discuss the respective government’s efforts to accommodate the thousands of displaced Ukrainians and how the United States can provide additional support.
It’s unclear what additional support Harris might provide if she were to travel to Romania and Poland after Blinken’s visit.
Late last month, the vice president came under fire for traveling to the Munich Security Conference ahead of the Russian invasion. While the veteran underscored the administration’s intent to hit Russia with “serious consequences” if it proceeds with an invasion, many criticized his presence given the disarray on the US southern border.
“I doubt [Putin’s] sitting in the Kremlin right now, shaking because Kamala Harris is there,” said Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview with Newsmax TV at the time.
“She couldn’t pour something out of a boot if there were instructions written on the heel,” Burchett added. “She can’t even find our southern border, let alone the Ukrainian border. It’s a joke, it’s a parody.
“Biden is deploying Kamala Harris to Europe to help ease Russian-Ukrainian tensions,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweetedsarcastically adding, “Good, because she’s doing so well with our southern border…”
During her trip, Harris was ridiculed for demonstrating a tenuous understanding of international affairs, telling reporters that Europe had enjoyed “peace and security” since the end of World War II – forgetting a succession of brutal civil conflicts and Russian incursions.
Earlier this week, Harris was again mocked for giving a stupid answer during a radio interview to a question about why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should matter to Americans.
“So Ukraine is a country in Europe,” Harris said, speaking slowly. “It exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia has decided to invade a small country called Ukraine. So basically it’s wrong, and it goes against everything we stand for.
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the United States and other European leaders to take drastic new action against Russia as missile attacks and bombings continue to ravage major cities.
“I said, ‘If you can’t close the sky now, give us a timeline. When will you do it? he told a press conference, pleading for the imposition of a no-fly zone.
“If you can’t provide a timeline now, tell us how many people need to die. How many limbs have to fly out of people’s bodies, so you hear us? How many people will count, and we will wait until that time when you feel comfortable.
While Zelensky thanked the West for its support, he also lambasted and accused the United States and its allies of not helping until it was “too late” to prevent conflict.
“The whole world started making decisions too late,” he said. “I want to thank the countries that help with weapons. We are grateful, but it is too late.
“Strong sanctions right now, I think that was a good start,” Zelensky continued. “Thank God now we have these sanctions.”
Hours later, the White House shied away from committing to creating a no-fly zone over battle-battered Ukraine.
“The no-fly zone must be implemented,” press officer Jen Psaki said during Thursday’s briefing. “That would require, essentially, the US military shooting down Russian aircraft and initiating or provoking a potential direct war with Russia – the exact step we want to avoid.”
New York Post