How Ukraine became a strain on U.S.-Russia relations
In his first telephone conversation with President Putin, President Biden expressed strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty
KIEV – The telephone conversation between President of the United States Joe Biden and President of Russia Vladimir Putin in its content looks ideal for the interests of Ukraine and shows that Russia’s chance for minimally normal relations with America and the civilized world is a refusal of aggressive policy.
This was announced on January 27 by the adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak in a comment to the National News Agency “Ukrinform”.
“And although the formal reason for the conversation concerned the topic of strategic disarmament, its content was, to put it mildly, much wider and more voluminous and looks ideal for the interests of Ukraine,” said Mikhail Podolyak.
In his opinion, the telephone conversation between Biden and Putin is a designation of one of the priorities of the new administration, a kind of signal: we are returning to the world agenda with traditional values and traditional harshness towards those who break the rules..
He stressed that Biden not only reaffirmed the key position of the United States‘ unconditional support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but raised the issue of supporting our sovereignty in fact first – in the context of well-known threats and risks from Russia against the rules and values of the civilized world.
“This means that Russia has only one chance for at least some minimally normal relations with America and the civilized world – a complete cessation of Russia’s aggressive policy. And the first thing in this is the cessation of aggression against Ukraine, the return by Russia of all our temporarily occupied territories, the refusal to support various illegal armed bandit formations, “the adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine is convinced.
According to Mikhail Podolyak, President Biden emphasized this very clearly, substantively and systematically, Ukrinform reports..
Ukraine in the dialogue of two leaders
As the Kremlin website reports on January 26, Vladimir Putin congratulated Joseph Biden on the beginning of his work as President of the United States. He noted that the normalization of relations between Russia and the United States would meet the interests of both countries and, taking into account their special responsibility for maintaining security and stability in the world, the entire international community.
It is mentioned that “among the international topics, the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Open Skies Treaty, the problem of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program, internal Ukrainian settlement, as well as the Russian initiative to hold a summit of permanent members of the UN Security Council were touched upon.”.
On the whole, the conversation between the leaders of Russia and the United States was of a businesslike and frank character. It was agreed to maintain contacts, according to the Kremlin website.
It is noteworthy that the Kremlin’s interpretation allegedly referred to an “internal Ukrainian settlement”.
In turn, an official statement published on the White House website says: “President Joseph Biden spoke today with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They discussed the readiness of both countries to extend the treaty on measures to further reduce and limit strategic offensive arms, START III, by five years, agreeing that the (American and Russian) teams urgently reach an agreement on the extension of the treaty no later than February 5.
They also agreed to discuss strategic stability on a range of arms control and emerging security issues..
Ukraine was spoken of in a completely different vein than in the Russian version – President Biden confirmed that the United States expresses strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Support for the “Ukrainian question”
Chairman of the Board of the Foundation “Eastern European Security Research Initiative”, Director of the Russian and Belarusian Studies Program of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism” Maxim Khilko calls it an important point to mention the Ukrainian issue in the dialogue between the two presidents.
“The parties did not go into details and did not discuss the topic of resuming the track of the US-Russian format, as it was during the times of Volcker and Surkov, but it is important that in the first telephone conversation between President Joe Biden and the leader of Russia, the Ukrainian issue was raised. This is an important point, which indicates that the American side will keep the situation in focus, along with the repeated statements of support and territorial integrity of Ukraine, “Maxim Khilko says to the correspondent of the Russian service of the Voice of America..
Maksym Khilko believes that the “Ukrainian issue” in the agenda of negotiations with Russia under the new US President will be developed and strengthened.
“There is a hope that the situation in Belarus will be treated in a new way in Biden’s team, there are specialists who are well versed in the Belarusian topic. Donald Trump didn’t have much of an understanding of the region. In Biden’s team, we see there is a desire to focus on supporting democratic values, civil liberties – these trends are also defended by the Belarusian people, who take to the streets with protests, ”emphasizes Maxim Khilko.
Focus on internal reforms
According to the political expert of the analytical center “House of Democracy” Anatoly Oktisyuk, Ukraine can count on stable US support, but will not be in the focus of foreign policy of the new White House administration.
“At least in the next few years, the efforts of the new administration in the United States will be directed towards the development of their country. At the same time, Ukraine should not waste time, but rather focus more actively not on appealing to foreign partners, but on putting things in order – to carry out reforms and strengthen the army. It is not worth relying heavily on the fact that international players will resolve the “Ukrainian issue”, ”Anatoliy Oktisyuk says to the correspondent of the Russian service“ Voice of America ”.
The main statements of Western partners addressed to Ukraine, according to him, relate to the processes of effective implementation of reforms, strengthening the Armed Forces, and combating corruption..
“Before appealing to the West, you need to pay attention to the fact that the West itself appeals to us with a desire to see effective reforms, a modernized Armed Forces,” says Anatoly Oktisyuk.
He also recalls that Ukraine has concluded and continues to develop several “naval contracts” with Turkey, Great Britain and the United States in the field of the revival of the Naval Forces..