Washington – US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he was considering sending a senior US official to Ukraine, a high-profile visit that would underscore Washington’s commitment to the besieged nation.
Asked if he would send an official, Biden replied: “We are making that decision now.”
‘Are you ready to go?’ Biden joked to a reporter.
‘Are you?’ replied the reporter.
“Yes,” said the President.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden had no plans to visit Ukraine himself. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson recently paid a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital, as did other European leaders.
FILE – The Russian missile cruiser Moscow patrols in the Mediterranean, 17 December 2015.
While fighting continued in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, the 50th day of Moscow’s invasion, Russia announced that its flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, Moscow, was sinking as it was being towed to port. The ship was badly damaged by an explosion on board and the crew of about 500 sailors had been evacuated.
The Russian Ministry of Defense blamed a fire that detonated ammunition on board the guided missile cruiser, but Ukraine said it hit the ship in a missile attack.
“I can not confirm the Ukrainian reports that it was hit by a missile,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday. But we are also not in a position to disprove that it may have been a Ukrainian missile that hit the ship. We simply do not have a perfect overview of exactly what happened. ‘
Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the ship was badly damaged on Wednesday as a result of either “incompetence” or a successful attack by the Ukrainians.
“We have been in contact with the Ukrainians overnight, who said they hit the ship with anti-ship missiles,” Sullivan told an audience at the Economic Club of Washington. “We do not currently have the capacity to independently verify it, but the way this was developed is definitely a big blow for Russia.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin will chair a meeting on the situation in the oil and gas sector via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, 14 April 2022.
Meanwhile, the verbal duel continued to escalate between Moscow and Washington.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned European countries that want to replace energy purchases from Russia that it would be “quite painful for the initiators of such policies.”
The Russian leader said: “Goods from other countries that can be shipped to Europe, mainly from the United States, would cost consumers many times more” and would “affect people’s standard of living and the competitiveness of the European economy.”
The European Union is dependent on Russia for 40% of its natural gas and 25% of its oil.
And Russia said that if Finland and Sweden lifted their long-standing neutral position between Moscow and the West and joined the US-dominated NATO military alliance, Russia would move nuclear weapons closer to the two northern European countries.
FILE – Pilots and civilians from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron palletize ammunition, weapons and other equipment en route to Ukraine at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, January 21, 2022. US informs Ukraine of another $ 800 million arms shipment on April 13, 2022 .
At the same time, the United States continues to flood Ukraine with weapons. On Wednesday, Biden informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of a new US $ 800 million arms delivery.
Later, in a statement, Biden said, “The Ukrainian military has used the weapons we provide with devastating effect.” The United States will continue to provide Ukraine with the capacity to defend itself. ‘
The Pentagon said the new weapons section includes 500 Javelin missiles; 300 Switchblade drones; 300 armored vehicles; 16 helicopters; chemical, biological and nuclear protective equipment; and 30,000 sets of body protection and helmets.
The United States also provides an unknown amount of anti-personnel ammunition, which is configured to be detonated only manually.