President Joe Biden told reporters that he was ready to go to Ukraine in person prior to boarding Air Force One on Thursday.
When asked by a reporter if he would send senior officials to Ukraine, Biden said the administration is “making that decision now.”
The reporter pressed Biden for a more specific answer, asking who he would send, to which Biden quipped, “Are you ready to go?”
The reporter asked, “Are you?”
President Biden responded, “Yeah.”
The president’s comments followed an announcement that the administration is sending an $800 million security assistance package of additional military weapons systems, vehicles, and munitions to Ukraine as Russia prepares to significantly increase its assault on the Donbas region.
“We committed from the very beginning, even before the invasion, to helping Ukraine be able to defend itself,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said on Wednesday. “How that gets interpreted by the Russians, you can ask [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Kremlin. What we’re concerned about is making sure that we are doing what we said we were going to do.”
“Every decision we’re making, we balance the needs of Ukraine to defend itself with our responsibilities—our absolute responsibilities—to think about escalation management,” Kirby added.
Over the weekend, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“Today I met my friend President @ZelenskyyUa in Kyiv as a show of our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine,” Johnson tweeted on April 9. “We’re setting out a new package of financial & military aid which is a testament of our commitment to his country’s struggle against Russia’s barbaric campaign.”
Zelenskyy said the meeting between the two leaders was important during “very difficult and turbulent times for our country.”
“At the same time, you came here, and we are especially grateful for this to happen. This is a true reflection for the decisive and significant support to Ukraine from United Kingdom and we are always grateful for that — we shall always remember that,” Zelenskyy said, according to a translation of his speech, as reported by CBS News.
Johnson said Putin is guilty of war crimes and vowed to “intensify the pressure in Donbas and in the east,” calling support for Ukraine “vital.”
“Together with our partners we’re going to ratchet up the economic pressure, and we will continue to intensify week by week the sanctions on Russia,” Johnson said.
“I’ve also seen the tragic effects of the war — an inexcusable war — an absolutely inexcusable and unnecessary war,” he added. “But having been here in Kyiv for just a few hours… I have no doubt at all that an independent, sovereign Ukraine will rise again, thanks, above all, to the heroism, the courage, of the people of Ukraine.”