The fact that US President Joe Biden appeared in Kyiv today must have caused a tremendous shock in Moscow, believes retired lieutenant general, Arne Bård Dalhaug.
– This is a strong reminder to Putin that his hopes to divide the West are unreliable, Dalhaug told DagbladeQ.
For Ukrainians, the visit must have been very motivating, according to Dalhaug.
– This sends a strong signal that the US will help Ukraine as long as needed, he said.
Just before Biden arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Monday, Russia was notified of the visit.
– We did this a few hours before the president’s departure to extinguish the conflict. This is a sensitive communication, so I can’t explain how they responded or what exactly our message to Russia was. But I can confirm the communication, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told The Guardian.
Dalhaug believes that Russia was informed “because it will be a total crisis if they come to harm Biden in a missile strike”.
He believes that Biden’s visit to Ukraine was planned long ago, and the timing of the visit was almost accidental.
– It was a genius for Joe Biden to travel to Ukraine now just before the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the country, he said.
– It’s hard to send a better signal than that, he added.
– Acceptable risk
According to US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, there is a lot of logistical and security work in the government to be able to make a visit with an acceptable level of risk.
How Biden got to Kyiv in Ukraine is not yet known – but the usual way is to enter the country by train, Dalhaug told Dagbladet.
– Most heads of state who have visited the country take the train, and approach Lviv on the Ukrainian side. From there it’s not too far to Kyiv, he said, adding that Biden may bring his own security personnel on the trip.
This is the Ukrainian dream
Planned for several months
Journalists who were on their way were also notified some time in advance, wrote NTB. After handing them their cell phones, they learned that Biden was on board the presidential plane just fifteen minutes before departure.
The journey on Air Force One began at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington early Sunday.
Sullivan’s second-in-command, Jonathan Finer, loosened the veil a bit and said planning had been underway for several months. But it was only after a meeting with some of the president’s most important advisers last Friday that the green light was given to make a visit to Kyiv.
Finer wouldn’t confirm how Biden traveled to the Ukrainian capital, but more details on this will be shared when it’s safe.
– There was a very small group on the way, a few of his closest advisers, a small medical team, a photographer and a security guard, said Finer, according to NTB.
The Americans also cooperated with Ukrainian officials, who were gradually gaining good experience in receiving important guests from abroad.
At 8:30 p.m. Monday night, Reuters reported that Biden had arrived in Poland.
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