U.S. weighs sending top-level official to meet Zelenskyy in Kyiv

The U.S. official, which will most likely be a Cabinet member, will follow European leaders who have already made the symbolic visit.

The Biden administration is holding internal discussions about sending a high-level official to Kyiv to show further support to Ukraine, two U.S. officials told POLITICO.

No decision on the potential visit has yet been made as deliberations continue inside the White House. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris remain candidates to represent the U.S. in the Ukrainian capital, though it’s far more likely that a Cabinet member like Secretary of State Antony Blinken or Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will go, the officials said.

Both Biden and Harris have recently traveled to Poland, a frontline NATO country that borders Ukraine.

A U.S. official visiting Kyiv would be the latest in a parade of Western figures meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In recent weeks, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the trip, while the leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland met Wednesday with Zelenskyy in the capital.

If the administration decides to send someone to Kyiv, it is understood that there won’t be an announcement in advance, due to security reasons. The timing of any potential trip is uncertain and officials cautioned that it may not happen at all due to the fluid nature of the war.

The trip would be highly symbolic for both Washington and Kyiv. The U.S. would affirm its commitment to Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s invasion, while Ukraine would get to host a top American official in the capital, just weeks after forcing Russian troops to retreat.

The visit would also come after Biden authorized an additional $800 million in military assistance, putting the total U.S. aid to Ukraine above $3 billion since the new administration came to power.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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