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Vice President Harris dispatched to Europe in a late effort to avert possible Russia aggression

Washington Republicans questioned whether Harris can broker deal, arguing first big diplomatic test at the southern U.S. border was failure

Published: February 17, 2022 1:29pm

Updated: February 17, 2022 3:49pm

Vice President Kamala Harris was dispatched Thursday to Europe to attempt to keep peace as Russia appears poised to invade neighboring Ukraine at any moment.

Harris left Washington, D.C., in the morning to attend the Munich Security Conference. Her departure was followed swiftly by a statement from President Biden as he emerged from the White House that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will invade inside of "the next several days."

Washington has sent a series of diplomats – including the country's highest-ranking in Secretary of State Antony Bliken – to try to avert a Russia invasion or incursion. 

Harris is expected to meet Friday with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, before delivering a speech Saturday about the Ukraine crisis. She will also meet with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Republicans mocked the idea of sending the vice president to Europe after her previous failed assignment of managing the illegal immigration crisis at the U.S. southern border.

"She can’t even find our southern border, much less the Ukrainian border. This is a joke, this is a travesty," said Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) during a Newsmax interview. "She couldn’t pour something out of a boot if there were instructions written on the heel."

Last week, after finding out about Harris's latest assignment, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said, "Biden is deploying Kamala Harris to Europe to help ease Russia-Ukraine tensions. Right, because she’s doing so well with our southern border." 

Russian officials have continued to insist that there is no invasion plan in the works, but U.S. forces and western allies have been watching as Putin moves thousands of troops to Ukraine's border, even as he purports to being doing exactly the opposite. 

Last week, Biden said that if Russia were to invade then "there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2," referring to a pipeline to provide fuel directly from Russia to Germany. 

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