Kamala Harris to go to Munich conference to talk Ukraine


Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Munich, Germany, later this month for a security conference meant to boost Ukraine against the backdrop of a potential invasion by Russia.

The veep’s appearance at the Munich Security Conference, scheduled to take place Feb. 18-20, “will demonstrate our ironclad commitment to our NATO Allies, reaffirm our shared interest in upholding the principles that have underpinned European peace and security since World War II, and underscore our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House said in a statement.

President Biden addressed the Munich conference virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russia has massed up to 140,000 troops and military equipment along the Ukrainian border, and US officials believe Moscow could attack at “any time.”

Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris will attend a Munich security conference to discuss boosting Ukraine’s defenses against a Russian invasion later this month.
Russia has massed 140,000 troops at Ukraine’s border. The US is searching for a diplomatic solution.
Armin Weigel/dpa via ZUMA

After declining Russia’s request to block Ukraine from ever joining NATO, the US and its allies have pushed for a diplomatic solution to avert an invasion. 

Biden has vowed to implement severe economic sanctions against Russia if President Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine. On Monday, Biden took his warnings a step further, saying he would “bring an end” to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline delivering natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea if an incursion takes place.

Harris’ journey will be the latest high-profile travel by the VP, following a trip to Mexico and Guatemala last June as part of her charge by Biden to address the “root causes” of illegal immigration. Harris also traveled to France in November, when she was criticized for appearing to use a mock accent during the visit.

Vladimir Putin
President Joe Biden has promised economic sanctions should Russian President Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine.
Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

The Munich appearance makes the Ukraine-Russia standoff the latest big issue Biden has asked Harris to tackle.

In March 2021, the president tapped Harris to lead the effort to slow the migrant surge along the border with Mexico — which reached record highs in 2021

In the summer, Biden turned to Harris to lead the administration’s failed efforts at passing election reform.

Earlier this month, the president gave Harris a seat at discussions with Senate lawmakers about Biden’s pending Supreme Court nominee.

In November, reports emerged that the vice president felt sidelined by Biden and her allies had grown frustrated with him dumping politically fraught issues in her lap.

“They’re consistently sending her out there on losing issues in the wrong situations for her skill set,” one former top Harris aide told CNN at the time.

Harris quickly rebuffed the claims, telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that she did not feel, as the anchor put it, “misused or underused.” 

Some Republicans were aghast at the announcement of Harris’ upcoming trip, citing her lackluster performance so far.

Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris has been criticized by Republicans who say she is the wrong person to represent the US at this conference. This comes after reports of the VP’s staffers saying she feels “sidelined” by the Biden administration.

“Kamala Harris is one of [the] last people in our government who should be looked to as a subject matter expert on how to defend territorial integrity,” tweeted Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), referencing the border issue.

“Kamala is the last person who should be handling Ukraine’s border crisis,” agreed Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).

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