How Biden traveled to Kyiv?

How Biden got to Kyïv?


US President Joe Biden's surprise visit to Kyiv had begun nearly 24 hours earlier, in the middle of the Eastern American night in a hangar at a military airport near Washington.&nbsp ;

Unbeknownst to the world's media, politicians and American voters, the 80-year-old Democrat boarded an Air Force Boeing 757 , called C-32 at 04:00 a.m. (09:00 GMT) Sunday.

This plane, a smaller version of Air Force 1 on which American presidents usually travel, was parked a good distance from where Mr. Biden usually boards. Revealing detail of this secret trip: the shutters of each porthole had been lowered.

Fifteen minutes later, the leader, a handful of officers responsible for his security, a small medical team, his close advisers and two journalists sworn not to say anything, took off for Ukraine, nearly a year after the Russian invasion.

The American president is undoubtedly one of the most scrutinized people on the planet. The least of his movements is covered by journalists and each of his comments in public is recorded and broadcast or published.

For this very special visit, only two of the 13 radio, television, photo and press reporters writing that usually accompany him abroad were present.

The lucky ones were Wall Street Journal editor Sabrina Siddiqui—who revealed the details of the journey after receiving the go-ahead from the White House—and Evan Vuccun, photographer at the Associated Press.


Both were summoned to Andrews Air Force Base, on the outskirts of the American capital at 2:15 a.m.

Upon arrival, they were forced to hand over their telephones, which did not returned only upon Mr. Biden's arrival in Kyiv, approximately 24 hours later.

The first leg of this journey was a flight of about seven hours from Washington to the US military base in Ramstein, Germany, where the aircraft landed to refuel. Again, the window shutters remained down and the passengers remained on board.

Destination of the second flight: Rzeszow-Jasionka airport, located in southeastern Poland, which has become an international hub from which billions of dollars of arms and ammunition, including American, are sent to Ukrainians .

“Good to be back”

During these long hours, the two journalists did not see Mr. Biden. Once at the Polish airport, they rushed into one of the SUVs of the procession. Journalists traveling with Mr. Biden often travel in a convoy, but this time with no sirens or signs of the US president's presence, heading for the Polish Przemysl train station, located near the Ukrainian border.

It was 9:15 p.m. in Poland when the convoy stopped in front of a train with eight carriages. The journalists boarded, without having seen Mr. Biden. The train, which follows the route by which astronomical quantities of aid have been transported to Ukraine, but also, in the other direction, millions of Ukrainian women and children fleeing the conflict.

Most of the people on board, according to Ms. Siddiqui, were part of the “important safety device”.

The president says he is passionate about trains. He relishes recounting the years he spent commuting by train between Washington and his home in Delaware when he was a senator and returned home to care for his two young sons after their mother died in a car accident.

One of his nicknames is “Amtrak Joe”, named after the American railway company.

This ten-hour trip to Ukraine was nothing a usual trip for an American president: it took place in a region at war and unlike presidential visits to Afghanistan or Iraq, security was not provided by American troops.

The train entered Kyiv at sunrise. Mr. Biden, who last visited the Ukrainian capital when he was Barack Obama's vice-president, arrived at 8:07 a.m. local time.

“It is good to be back in Kyiv “, he launched.