The media claimed President Joe Biden demonstrated strength when he visited Kyiv on Monday, meeting with Ukrainian leaders as air sirens could be heard in the Ukrainian capital city.
But according to a CNN war correspondent on the ground in Kyiv, there were no sightings of missiles and the air sirens were not heard until Biden was in Kyiv.
What did media claim?
Media outlets made an inextricable connection between Biden's visit and air sirens:
- The New York Times: "Biden Visits Embattled Ukraine as Air-Raid Siren Sounds"
- The Independent: "Biden defies safety warnings and air raid sirens for moment of history in Kyiv"
- NBC News: "Watch: Air raid sirens sound repeatedly as Biden and Zelenskyy walk through Kyiv"
- Newsweek: "Joe Biden Arrives in Kyiv for Surprise Trip as Air Raid Sirens Blare"
- The Boston Herald: "Biden Visits Embattled Ukraine as Air-Raid Siren Sounds"
- Vice: "Joe Biden Made a Surprise Visit to Ukraine as Air Raid Sirens Blared"
But what did a CNN reporter say?
Alex Marquardt, a senior national security correspondent at CNN, took the wind out of the media's sails on Monday when he revealed the coincidental nature of those air raid sirens.
"The fact is life is relatively normal here in the capital these days. The fighting, of course, taking place hundreds of miles from here in the east and in the south," Marquardt said.
"I've been here for the past five days. I have not heard any explosions. I have not heard any air sirens until about half an hour ago, right when President Biden was in the center of Kyiv," he added.
The air sirens, then, may have, according to the New York Times, made for a "dramatic moment that underscored the investment the United States has made in Ukraine’s independence" — but according to those on the ground, Biden was never actually in any danger.
That hasn't stopped Democrats, however, like former Sen. Claire McCaskill, from using the moment to bash former President Donald Trump. McCaskill said on MSNBC that Biden's visit demonstrated his "courage," while she rebuked Trump for being "afraid" to go to Afghanistan.
Reuters confirmed that, despite the air sirens, "there were no reports of Russian missile or air strikes."
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