US President Joseph Biden will not be traveling to Ukraine during his trip to Europe this week to meet with NATO and EU allies. But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly expressed his interest in a journey to Kyiv to bring a solid sign of support to Volodimir Zelensky.
Biden has plans to visit Poland after attending NATO and EU summits.
Prior to his departure, Biden hosted a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and also with Johnson to discuss their coordinated responses, the White House said in a statement.
The leaders discussed their serious concerns about Russia's brutal tactics in Ukraine, including its attacks on civilians, the document went on. They underscored their continued support for Ukraine, including by providing security assistance to the brave Ukrainians who are defending their country from Russian aggression, and humanitarian assistance to the millions of Ukrainians who have fled.
Biden will leave Washington Wednesday to attend the twin summits Thursday in Brussels, and then to meet President Andrzej Duda in Poland Saturday.
Unity has been front and center for the president, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. Unity with our European counterparts, unity among NATO, unity among the G7. And that doesn't happen by accident. And so, coming out of this what the president is hoping to achieve is continued coordination and a unified response to the continued escalatory actions of Putin.
However, with the war starting to look like a stalemate, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is making increasingly desperate appeals for the West to do more. In this scenario Johnson has said he planned to visit Kyiv, which is currently under Russian military siege, to become the first leader of a Western country to make a gesture of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Johnson has reportedly instructed his intelligence services to scout the terrain, according to British tabloids, but with no further confirmation. However, the British Conservative Prime Minister is said to have developed a personal bond with Zelensky, which gives credibility to the news, as Johnson would seek to restore his image of a statesman with Winston Churchill-style actions following the Downing Street scandals while under COVID-19 lockdown.
With Biden already having said he would not go, Johnson's potential bravado would not be shadowed by anyone's presence. After former PM Churchill's adventures to mainland Europe during World War II, British security agents should be used to these situations, the tabloids ventured.