U.S Vice President, Biden visits Ukraine to show U.S support to the pro-western policy of Ukraine and to get to know the presidential candidates
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has made a three day working visit to Ukraine. And he has made statements of both non-political as well as political nature while he has been there. What caught the international and domestic press immediate attention were his comments on the Ukrainian women. Well, it is a compliment that a Vice President makes this statement and could maybe boost a segment in Ukrainian business, who knows?
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, on a visit to Kyiv during July 21st – 23rd , has delivered a positive message to a beleaguered Ukraine. Despite Kyiv’s paralyzing domestic political feuds and a deep recession, Biden said Washington’s efforts to repair strained ties with Russia will not hurt U.S. support for Ukraine’s push to integrate with the West. Biden — who is on a tour that will also take him to Georgia — made his comments at a joint news conference in Kyiv following talks with President Viktor Yushchenko.
U.S Vice President and Ukrainian women
Wherever Joe Biden goes, so does his mouth. Meeting today with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in Kyiv, the vice president lived up to his reputation for loose lips making himself out to be a horndog-in-waiting. “I cannot believe that a Frenchman visiting Kyiv went back home and told his colleagues he discovered something and didn’t say he discovered the most beautiful women in the world. That’s my observation,” he told Yushchenko. “It’s certain you have so many beautiful women.”
The U.S Vice President got to meet the sitting president, prime minister and presidential candidates of Ukraine during his meeting. Biden got to cover lots of various topics, but we do not know any details apart from what was said in the various press conferences straight after meetings or by the Ukrainian party afterwards. It is worth mentioning that the pro-western policy of Ukraine was supported by U.S. However, it remains to see what the retorics is worth when it comes to politics in reality. U.S sold out Ukraine in its EU campaign in order to keep their foot in the missile program in former Soviet states in Eastern Europe. However, has proved to be an important economic partner for Ukraine, but not as important as European countries have proven to be in the last decade.
Below, you will find a short summary from each meeting Biden had with his Ukrainian politicians. It also reflects the Ukrainian press coverage of the meetings, and it is interesting to see that the press covers more of Yanokovich’s meetings with Biden than the three others together.
Biden says to President Viktor Yushchenko that Ukraine need not worry about U.S.-Russia ties
Vice President Joe Biden assured a nervous Ukraine that its interests won’t be sacrificed as the United States tries to mend ties with Moscow.
Visiting Kyiv two weeks after President Barack Obama attended a Moscow summit, Biden said Russia can claim no “sphere of influence” in its backyard. The U.S. vice president travels next to another former Soviet republic, Georgia, which lost a five-day war with Russia last year over separatist provinces that Moscow insists are independent states.
Russia has responded angrily to efforts by the pro-Western leaders of Ukraine and Georgia to distance their countries from Moscow and seek NATO membership.
As confrontation simmers between Moscow and the West over Ukraine’s future, Biden signaled that Russia has no special rights in the region.
“We do not recognize – and I want to reiterate it – any sphere of influence,” Biden said after meeting with pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko. “We do not recognize anyone else’s right to dictate to you or any other country what alliances you will seek to belong to.”
Before Biden even spoke, Russia had warned the United States to tread lightly when it courts Moscow’s neighbors.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said all nations are free to choose their partners, but added: “It is important that this be done transparently, without under-the-carpet games and not at the expense of others’ interests.”
Nesterenko suggested Russia’s traditional ties with Ukraine give it a bigger stake in the country’s future, saying nations dealing with Ukraine should take regional context and “historical specifics” into account.
Biden reassured Ukraine that Obama’s bid to “reset” relations with Russia would not hurt Ukraine’s push for integration with the West, saying better ties with Moscow “will not come at Ukraine’s expense.”
“To the contrary, I believe it can actually benefit Ukraine,” he said. “The more substantive relationship we have with Moscow, the more we can defuse the zero-sum thinking about our relations with Russia’s neighbors.”
The Russia-US summit on July 6-8 aimed to make a new start in relations, which reached post-Cold War lows after Russia’s war with Georgia last August. Obama stressed that “NATO seeks collaboration with Russia, not confrontation.”
Mindful of a rift within Ukraine about joining NATO, Biden said the U.S. would not dictate to the nation, but emphasized that “if you choose to be part of Euro-Atlantic integration – which I believe you have – that we strongly support that.”
Polls have shown a majority of Ukrainians oppose NATO membership, and European allies have been more wary than the United States about bringing Ukraine into the alliance. While NATO has stressed that the door remains open, Russia’s war with Georgia deepened concerns by hinting at the lengths Moscow is willing to go to keep neighbors out of the Western alliance.
The war also raised alarms in Ukraine about Kremlin intentions toward a nation many Russians see as inextricably linked to their own. Biden stressed that “the United States supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and freedom, and to make its own choices – its own choices – including what alliances they choose to belong.”
Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, drily dismissed Biden’s trip as “psychotherapy” aimed to comfort Ukraine and Georgia, and said neither has a chance of joining the alliance any time soon.
Welcoming Biden, Yushchenko called Ukraine a “European country where democracy rules” – seeking to set it apart from Russia, which has often-acrimonious relations with the European Union and has faced accusation of a retreat from democracy in the past decade.
“We are going forward, we have chosen a European path,” Yushchenko said.
He also called for U.S. investment in upgrading Ukraine’s natural-gas pipeline network, which carries large volumes of Russian natural gas to European consumers. Russia turned off the taps during a price dispute in January, leaving many Europeans without gas for two weeks and prompting the EU to step up efforts to find alternative supply routes.
Accompanied by Yushchenko, Biden placed flowers at a memorial to victims of a deadly 1932-33 famine engineered by Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s government – the focus of one of several disputes between Ukraine and Russia over history. Yushchenko is seeking international recognition of the famine that killed millions of Ukrainians as genocide, while Russia adamantly argues that Ukrainians were not specifically targeted.
Biden later met with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Yushchenko ally who is now a bitter foe and chief challenger in January’s presidential election. He also met with opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych and former parliament speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who also plan to seek the presidency.
Biden urged the feuding leaders to put disagreements behind them and get down to fixing the country’s devastated economy. “Working together, especially in times of crisis, is not a choice, it’s an absolute necessity,” he said. “Compromise … is not a sign of weakness, it is evidence of strength.”
The rivalry has played into the hands of Yanukovych, who has warmer ties with Moscow and is popular in Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking east.
Biden on Wednesday visits Georgia, whose strategic location along a key energy route has made it a geopolitical battlefield between Moscow and the West.
Russian forces quickly crushed the Georgian army last August after Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili launched an offensive targeting the Moscow-backed breakaway province of South Ossetia to try to bring it under control.
Russia has defied the West by deploying thousands of troops in South Ossetia and another separatist province, Abkhazia, and recognizing both regions as independent nations.
Biden: U.S. intention to improve relations with Russia cannot compromise relations with Ukraine
The United States intentions to improve relations with Russia cannot compromise the country’s relations with Ukraine, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has said.
He was speaking at a meeting with Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn in Kyiv on Tuesday, the press service of the Ukrainian parliament has said.
Biden told those present that his visit to Ukraine was approved while U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Russia was being planned.
The U.S. Vice-President has noted that his country has maintained two principled positions: firstly the U.S. doesn’t agree that Russia cannot influence any country, and secondly each country can decide, what relations it will be building.
He also noted that all the states that lived through the so-called colored revolutions are always facing a crossroad and assured the Verkhovna Rada speaker that the United States will support Ukraine.
Ukraine, Russia need new agenda of bilateral relations, Yatseniuk tells Biden
Leader of Ukraine’s Front for Change initiative Arseniy Yatseniuk has said that Ukraine and Russia need a new agenda of bilateral relations.
He said this at a meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Kyiv on Tuesday
“We have touched on the Ukrainian-Russian relations… We need a new agenda of the Ukrainian-Russian relations and I have briefly expressed my viewpoint on this issue,” Yatseniuk told reporters at a briefing following his meeting with Biden on Tuesday afternoon.
The Front for Change leader also said that they didn’t discuss with the U.S. Vice President the issue of NATO or the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine, but focused on the global economic turmoil instead.
Biden, Yanukovych discuss energy security
Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Party of Regions, and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden have discussed energy security issues. “It was discussed,” Yanukovych told reporters after a meeting with Biden in Kyiv on Tuesday.
According to him, it is important for Ukraine to build transparent relations with its strategic partners, such as the European Union and Russia.
“Ukraine, as a transiting country, is interested in having an efficiently working gas transportation system and see it modernized in the near future, for which it is definitely necessary to draw investment, and both the EU and Russia should be involved as strategic investors. They can be Ukraine’s partners in this issue,” Yanukovych said.
He also mentioned the initiative of setting up an international consortium.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko earlier said after his meeting with Biden that Ukraine would welcome U.S. investment in the modernization of Ukraine’s gas transportation system.
Yanukovych assures Biden he is ready for compromise with other political forces
Leader of the Regions Party Viktor Yanukovych has assured U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that he is ready for compromise with other political forces in Ukraine.
“I repeated his own phrase to Mr Vice President that strong politicians, strong people, they always look for a compromise and find it,” he told the press after his meeting with Biden in Kyiv on Tuesday.
The Regions Party’s leader also said that he had announced many times his readiness to “choose peace between war and peace.”
Biden earlier said that the United States called for Ukrainian politicians to join efforts to tackle the recessions.
Yanukovych, Biden touch upon future presidential elections in Ukraine
Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Party of Regions, and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden have touched upon future presidential elections in Ukraine during their recent meeting in Kyiv.
“As for the future elections, I’ve very briefly emphasized that we’re interested in the fair and transparent elections,” Yanukovych told reporters after the meeting in Kyiv on Tuesday.
He also added that the Party of Regions is interested in U.S. observers at the elections “who could create equal conditions for every candidate.”
Yanukovych also said that he had heard the U.S. Vice President’s viewpoint on the economy in Ukraine, relations with the International Monetary Fund, and democracy-related issues.
Among other representatives of the Party of Regions at the meeting were MPs Serhiy Levochkin, Mykola Azarov and Hanna Herman.
Future of Ukraine and bonds to U.S and EU
The next election of the Ukrainian president is scheduled for January 17, 2010 and it remains to see if U.S will take a preference amongst the 4 candidates he has met with during his trip to Ukraine this year.
It is important however, to observe that U.S is quite open when it comes to its desire to bring Ukraine towards Western Europe and form a stronger alliance with Europe both in a political as well as in military sense.
It remains to see how U.S will play their cards when it comes to gas politics in the region, as EU has taken ownership in Nabucco gas pipe line, which is in direct competition to North Stream which Germany and Russia favours.
However, U.S has shown its commitment to assist Ukraine in its path towards a true democracy, however, much of the work and responsibility will rest on the shoulders of the present leadership in Ukraine and its future ones. There is no room for Ukraine political leadership to make lots of diversions now. They need to commit themselves to a path that is clear to the outside world as well as the domestic economic forces and business. Unless Ukraine manage to show strength through the economic turmoil they experience at the moment, it can get worse and set Ukraine back several decades. It can be a domestic reset button for Ukraine economy and development towards a democratic state.
Ukraine is looking for the leader that will bring Ukraine out of the crisis, but also can unite its people to pull in one direction towards prosperity of all levels within Ukraine. There is a need to modernize the public as well as in private business sector.
At the moment it looks like there is only one candidate ready to take this challenge on his shoulders and try to unite the people of Ukraine and at the same time have enough stamina to keep international relations at a good stronghold.
This candidate is most likely Arseniy Yatseniuk which collects more and more support amongst the Ukrainian people with his diplomatic skills and experience.
He has a background as civil engineer and geoscientist. He has worked mainly within the oil and gas industry from the mid 1980s. He has written a few fictional novels as well as being the author of some professional litterature within oil and gas sector, he is now an editor of some web sites.
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