From a 4:15 AM Flight to 10-Hour Train Journey, Here's how Biden's Surprise Trip to war-hit Ukraine was Planned

A US official said that they had notified Russia about President Joe Biden's surprise visit to war-hit Ukraine.

From a 4:15 AM Flight to 10-Hour Train Journey, Here's how Biden's Surprise Trip to war-hit Ukraine was Planned

New Delhi: As the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, United States President Joe Biden on Monday (February 20, 2023) made a surprise visit to Kyiv and met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Biden wore his trademark aviator sunglasses and walked alongside Zelenskiy to a gold-domed cathedral in Kyiv.

"When (Russian President Vladimir) Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong," he said in a statement on travel to Kyiv.

"This is the largest land war in Europe in three-quarters of a century, and you’re succeeding against all and every expectation, except your own.  We have every confidence that you’re going to continue to prevail," Biden told Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy said that he is "very happy" to welcome Biden in Ukraine and said that this is "really the most important visit" of the whole history of the Ukraine-US relationship.

"This is the visit in this most difficult period for Ukraine when Ukraine is fighting for our own liberty, for the liberties of the world," he said.

Hoped that this year will become "a year of victory", he said, "This unprovoked and criminal Russia’s war against Ukraine and against the whole world and democratic world has to end with liberating the whole of Ukraine’s territory from Russia’s occupation and the solid guarantees of the long-term security for our country as well as Europe and the whole world."

Joe Biden's visit to Ukraine took months of planning

The White House officials and other agencies were planning intensively for Joe Biden to make an unannounced trip to Ukraine. 

According to the White House, Biden on Friday decided to go to Ukraine after months of planning.

The officials at the White House said that he was first taken to Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington and departed at 4:15 AM (0915 GMT) on Sunday aboard an Air Force jet. 

Accompanied by a handful of aides, Biden only took just one reporter and a photographer along with him, instead of his usual media pool.

He then flew on an Air Force C-32 overnight to the United States' Ramstein Air Base in Germany and the plane was refueled before he flew on to Rzeszow in southeastern Poland. 

After a one-hour drive, the US President arrived in Przemysl, a city along the Poland-Ukraine border.

He then boarded a train with a heavy security presence on board and traveled 10 hours to Kyiv.

The train came to a stop at the Kyiv-Pasazhyrsky station in the Ukrainian capital at roughly 8 AM local time (0600 GMT) on Monday. 

The area around the platform had been cleared and the US ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget Brink, awaited Biden and his aides.

Russia was informed about Joe Biden's visit to Kyiv hours before his departure

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who accompanied Joe Biden, informed that they had notified Russian officials about the surprise visit to Kyiv. 

"We did so some hours before his departure for deconfliction purposes," he told reporters.

He said that Biden's trip had "required a security, operational, and logistical effort from professionals across the US government to take what was an inherently risky undertaking and make it a manageable level of risk."

After his visit, Biden got back on the train for the trip to Przemysl and then made his way to Warsaw.

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