On Thursday, President Biden flew to Ohio to give a speech pushing his infrastructure plan – which has already been passed. Biden ended up cutting the trip short, however, due to Russia appearing to get ready to invade Ukraine – which he called “a little thing going on in Europe.”
“The reason they tell me I’ve got to head out — I hadn’t planned on going immediately — is because the weather going back to Washington and there’s a little thing going on in Europe right now,” Biden said, according to The New York Post.
“The commander-in-chief’s trip to the Lake Erie shoreline focused on his three-month-old infrastructure law’s impact on pollution in the Great Lakes. It drew questions about whether he was distracted from his major role in deterring war in Europe,” The New York Post reported. “Biden didn’t shorten the trip by much. He was scheduled to depart Cleveland at 1:45 p.m. and Air Force One lifted off at 1:33 p.m., meaning he left Ohio about 12 minutes earlier than planned.”
As Biden gave his speech on his already passed infrastructure bill that he cut short by a full 12 minutes due to the crisis in Europe, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Munich to meet with foreign leaders.
“On Saturday, Harris will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and also separately with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, according to senior administration officials,” CBS News reported. “This will be the first engagement between Harris and Zelensky. The vice president is also going to be meeting with the Baltic state leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg”
“We are in a very decisive moment,” a senior administration official said on Wednesday night. “The vice president is leading the U.S. delegation to the Munich Security Conference this year as a resounding signal that engagement with our partners and allies is an absolutely critical part of our overall diplomacy and our approach to this situation.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has meanwhile continued to amass soldiers near Ukraine’s border, while falsely claiming that he is withdrawing troops.
A U.S. official revealed on Wednesday night that Russia had secretly placed an additional 7,000 troops near Ukraine’s border.
“Yesterday the Russian government said it was withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine,” the official said. “They received a lot of attention for that claim, both here and around the world. But we now know it was false.”
“In fact, we have now confirmed that in the last several days, Russia has increased its troop presence along Ukrainian border by as many as 7,000 troops with some arriving as recently as today,” the official added. “Every indication we have now is they mean only to publicly offer to talk and make claims about de-escalation while privately mobilizing for war.”