Wed. May 31st, 2023


US President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One at a military airport in Warsaw, Poland, on February 20, 2023. —  AFP
US President Joe Biden disembarks Air Pressure One at a navy airport in Warsaw, Poland, on February 20, 2023. —  AFP

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden’s surprise visit Monday to wartime Kyiv started at midnight at a navy airport hangar outdoors Washington.

At 4:00am (0900 GMT) Sunday — unbeknown to the world’s media, the Washington political institution or American voters — the 80-year-old Democrat boarded an Air Pressure Boeing 757, referred to as a C-32.

The airplane, a smaller model of the one US presidents usually use on worldwide journeys, was parked effectively away from the place Biden would normally board. And a telling element: the shade on each window had been pulled down.

Fifteen minutes later, Biden, a handful of safety personnel, a small medical workforce, shut advisors, and two journalists who had been sworn to secrecy, took off en path to a struggle zone.

The US president is probably probably the most consistently scrutinised individual on the planet.

Members of the press observe Biden wherever he goes — whether or not to church or worldwide summits. Each phrase he says in public is recorded, transcribed and printed.

On this case, although, the standard pool of reporters, which for overseas journeys would encompass 13 journalists from radio, TV, photograph and written press organizations, was minimize to 1 photographer and one author.

The reporter, Sabrina Siddiqui from The Wall Avenue Journal, revealed — as soon as allowed by the White Home to publish particulars — that she and the photographer had been summoned to Joint Base Andrews outdoors Washington at 2:15 am.

Their telephones had been confiscated — to not be returned till Biden lastly arrived within the Ukrainian capital about 24 hours later.

They flew for about seven hours from Washington to the US navy base in Ramstein, Germany, for refueling. Right here too, the window shades stayed down and they didn’t depart the airplane.

The subsequent flight was to Poland, touchdown at Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport. This can be a Polish airport, however because the Ukraine war, it has additionally grow to be a world hub for the US-led effort to arm the Ukrainians, funneling billions of {dollars} of weaponry and ammunition.

‘Good to be again’

Up thus far, Siddiqui and the photographer, the Related Press’ Evan Vucci, had not seen Biden himself. That did not change on the airport or after they obtained right into a motorcade of SUVs.

Reporters touring with Biden usually go in motorcades, however one thing was very completely different about this one: no sirens or anything to announce that the US president was headed to Przemysl Glowny — the Polish prepare station close to the Ukrainian border.

It was already 9:15pm native time as they pulled up at a prepare. The journalists had been instructed to board, nonetheless with out laying eyes on Biden.

Operating a route that has introduced untold portions of support into Ukraine and untold numbers of Ukrainian civilians fleeing the opposite method, the prepare had about eight vehicles. Most people aboard, Siddiqui stated, had been “heavy safety.”

Biden is an avowed prepare buff.

He loves recounting his years of commuting by rail between Washington and residential in Delaware when he was a senator, citing two younger sons after their mom died in a automobile accident. Certainly one of his nicknames is “Amtrak Joe.”

This 10-hour journey into Ukraine, although, was in contrast to any taken by a contemporary US president — journeying into an energetic struggle zone the place, in contrast to presidential visits to Afghanistan or Iraq, US troops should not those offering safety.

The train rolled into Kyiv with the rising solar.

Biden, who had final visited the Ukrainian capital when he was vice chairman below Barack Obama disembarked at about 8:07am.

“It is good to be again in Kyiv,” he stated.


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