(RightWing.org) – In the year since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his military forces pouring over the Ukrainian border, world leaders such as British Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Senate Republicans and even the then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have visited the war-torn nation. Perhaps suffering from a bit of FOMO, President Joe Biden decided to make the trek as well, and his staff took on the Herculean task of getting “the most powerful man in the world” into Kyiv with (almost) none the wiser.
Logistics, Secrecy and a War Zone
Sending the POTUS into an active combat region when the United States military does not have absolute air superiority would be enough to keep any of the joint chiefs of staff awake all night long. Therefore, although it may seem odd, the administration used an existing “deconfliction channel” to provide Biden’s itinerary to the Russian government.
Russia’s Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev wrote on his Telegram (the Russian version of Twitter) account, “Biden, having previously received security guarantees, finally went to Kyiv.” He also continued pushing his country’s party line: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy leads a “neo-Nazi regime.” However, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan assured the press during a teleconference briefing that Moscow provided no guarantees, it simply provided a routine acknowledgment of the White House’s notification.
On the whole, the Russian government and media downplayed the importance of Biden’s visit, claiming he was never in danger because they gave their word that Kyiv would not be hit during his visit, and they always keep their promises. Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev reportedly implied Biden was trying to prove himself to American voters, using this as a kickoff to the 2024 election campaign.
Any time the POTUS travels, the need to keep in touch with the military — especially the strategic nuclear forces — while keeping him safe requires coordination across many parts of the government. The Air Force needs to get the specialized presidential limousines in place on the ground, a team of Secret Service agents needs to be sent ahead, and foreign governments have to be notified accordingly.
For this trip, the iconic Air Force One was left behind. Instead, the president and a pared-down entourage left Joint Base Andrews in the predawn hours of Sunday, February 19, on board a modified Boeing 757 heading for Warsaw, Poland. From there, they boarded a train and traveled overland to the Ukrainian capital.
In addition to the smaller staff, only two journalists were allowed to travel with them, and they had to turn off their electronic devices and hand them over to White House staffers for the entire trip. That may have been the biggest miracle of all, one would think the only way to get the press to part with their means of communication would be to pry them from their cold dead fingers.
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