Biden-Zelensky meeting: what have the US and Ukrainian presidents achieved
Zelensky and Biden discussed defense assistance, Ukraine’s democratic reforms
The United States will allocate $ 463 million to Ukraine in 2021 to support the country’s democracy and defense of human rights, as well as $60 million for security assistance, including the provision of weapons. These are the main results of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the United States and his meeting with President Joe Biden.
“Normal male conversation”
As the US President said at the start of the talks, “The United States remains firm in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression”.
President Biden also noted that the Unites States’ support for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations remains unwavering and expressed the hope that he will have the opportunity to visit Ukraine again.
At the end of the meeting, there was no joint press conference of the presidents; Vladimir Zelensky commented on its results to journalists.
According to the Ukrainian Hromadske TV channel, Zelensky noted that at the meeting, the presidents devoted a lot of time to the topic of NATO. While the US has expressed support for granting Ukraine membership, no specific deadline was been given.
Zelensky added that the issues of energy security had been discussed separately. The issue of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which was laid from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine, remains important for the country as this gives Moscow the ability to manipulate gas supplies to Ukraine.
Zelensky said that President Biden personally guaranteed that if there were any violations of agreements that pose a threat to Ukraine on the part of Russia or representatives of other parties to Nord Stream 2, the United States would impose sanctions on the Russian gas pipeline.
Also, according to Zelensky, presidents discussed the issues of defense assistance to Ukraine and addressed security issues at the Black Sea coast, and agreed to work on these issues together in the future.
The President of Ukraine also stated that the issue of de-occupation of Crimea and release of prisoners had been discussed.
“The fact that, instead of one hour, the meeting lasted for two, suggests that the parties are really interested in dialogue and achieving results. I believe that in general, the meeting was held in a normal, productive, although not always “sunny” atmosphere but rather as a normal male conversation”, Zelensky said.
After the meeting, a joint statement by Biden and Zelensky was released which includes several important issues:
Counteraction to Russian aggression. The United States noted that it would never recognize the annexation of Crimea and reaffirmed its full support for international efforts to resolve the conflict.
The statement mentions a new defense framework agreement between the countries under which the reforms in the areas of defense and the defense industry will be carried out, cooperation in areas such as Black Sea security, cyber security, intelligence exchange and countering Russian aggression will be deepened.
The statement also mentions financial aid in the amount of $60 million, which includes the supply of Javelin armor-piercing systems and other defensive lethal weapons from the United States to Ukraine.
The United States supported Ukraine’s aspiration to join NATO and the EU.
Reform of the judicial system and the fight against corruption. Ukraine promised to reform its judicial sector in line with international best practices.
Human rights. With US support, Ukraine pledged to continue to foster respect for human rights, civil and fundamental freedoms in line with international standards and commitments, and to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and discrimination against the LGBTQI + community.
Investment in reforms. The United States plans to allocate $ 463 million to support reforms in Ukraine in 2021. It is noted that almost $ 2 billion has already been allocated since 2014.
Ukraine and the United States intend to strengthen cooperation in achieving joint energy and climate goals by intensifying the Strategic Dialogue on Energy and Climate. The parties reaffirmed their intention to achieve ambitious reductions in their national greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Counteraction to the influence of “Nord Stream-2”. The United States pledges to prevent the Kremlin from using energy as a geopolitical weapon. The Ukrainian and US governments are supporting efforts to increase capacity to supply gas to Ukraine from diversified sources.
Fighting COVID-19. The US intends to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, including the vaccine storage cold chain, and an additional $12.8 million to help the country fight COVID-19.
Humanitarian aid. The US government will provide Ukraine with an additional $ 45 million in humanitarian aid for people affected by the war in Donbas.
Strategic Defense Agreement
Kyiv attaches particular importance to the document signed during the visit by the ministers of defense – the Strategic Defense Framework Agreement. It provides for deepening cooperation between countries in the Black Sea, cyber security, and intelligence fields.
During a meeting with the President of Ukraine, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the document envisages strengthening cooperation to help Ukraine resist Russian aggression.
In particular, it provides for the introduction of defense-industrial reforms to support Ukraine’s NATO aspirations and deepen security cooperation.
“The minister and I are also signing an agreement today on research, development, testing, and evaluation projects to provide a basis for the creation of joint weapons systems for military-technical cooperation on separate joint projects”, Austin said.
He also recalled the order of US President Joe Biden to allocate an additional $ 60 million to Ukraine from the Pentagon to help Ukraine’s security sector. The money, in particular, will be provided for the provision of American Javelin anti-tank systems and other types of weapons.
Zelensky described the agreement as an “important sign of the US support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, NATO membership and joint opposition to Russian aggression”.
The White House report notes that the United States has provided $ 2.5 billion in aid to the Ukrainian armed forces since 2014, including $ 400 million this year alone.