White House stands by statement that Biden won't visit Ukraine

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WASHINGTON — President Biden has no current plans to travel to Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday, an assertion that contradicted what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired on Sunday.

“I think he will,” Zelensky told Tapper of a possible Biden visit to the war-torn nation.

“It’s his decision, of course,” Zelensky continued. “And about the safety situation: It depends. But I think he’s the leader of the United States and that’s why he should come here, to see.”

Last month, Biden traveled to Poland, where he met U.S. troops and Ukrainian refugees displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and delivered a speech that seemed to call for regime change in the Kremlin.

President Biden speaking at a podium.
President Biden speaks at an event on Thursday. (Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Several Eastern European leaders have traveled to Ukraine in recent weeks. In early April, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the most prominent head of state to visit Zelensky. A video of the two leaders walking the streets of Kyiv became something of an Internet sensation.

The White House has signaled a willingness to send a member of the presidential cabinet to Ukraine while also making clear that Biden would not travel there himself.

“We are not sending the president to Ukraine,” Psaki said last week.

Zelensky’s comments to Tapper elicited a similar response.

“There’s no plans for the president to go,” Psaki said.