WASHINGTON-U.S. President Joe Biden assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a White House meeting on Wednesday that the United States in its eastern region “faces Russian aggression and remains firmly committed to safeguarding Ukrainian sovereignty.” “.
Therefore, the White House announced its firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty over the disputed Crimean Peninsula. Moscow unilaterally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, triggering ongoing conflicts between neighboring countries.
“The United States does not recognize and will never recognize Russia’s so-called annexation of Crimea, and reaffirms its full support for international efforts, including the Normandy model, aimed at resolving the Russian-led conflict in eastern Ukraine through diplomatic channels. Including the United Nations Charter in Internal international law,” the White House said in a statement after the meeting.
The United States also announced a new $60 million security assistance program, including additional Javelin anti-armor systems and other defensive lethal and non-lethal capabilities.
The leaders also discussed energy and climate policies, Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts, Ukraine’s desire to join NATO, and Ukraine’s opposition to the Beixi 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Europe.
The White House said in a statement: “The United States and Ukraine continue to oppose the Beixi-2 project, which we believe is a threat to European energy security.”
Olga Olik, director of the European and Central Asia Project of the International Crisis Group, told VOA via Skype in Brussels that the grand occasion of the visit obscured the tricky topics on the table.
“These are tricky, tricky questions,” she said. “Nothing is easy here. Ukraine wants more support and promises than it can get.”
Zelensky also emphasized the importance of being one of the few world leaders invited into the White House in recent months.
“In difficult times in the world, the United States and Ukraine, you still make time for us, and we are very grateful for that,” he said through an interpreter. “Of course, the United States is our strategic partner and a staunch supporter of our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Olik told VOA that the timing of this visit is very important to Ukrainians.
“For Ukrainians, especially after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, they want clear support from the U.S.,” she said. “And I also think the Zelensky team has high hopes for the Biden administration, especially after they face all the challenges of the Trump administration. They hope to hold a meeting as soon as possible, preferably between President Biden and President Vladimir of Russia. It was held before the Milputin meeting. That didn’t happen, but they are meeting now.”
On Tuesday, the Ukrainian Congress Caucus met Zelensky, as did Defense Minister Lloyd Austin. Austin congratulated Zelensky on Ukraine’s 30 years of independence and expressed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty “in the face of Russian aggression”.
Two years before Zelensky’s visit to Washington, his name unexpectedly became the center of a US investigation, leading to the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump.
Trump hopes to dig out Biden’s taint before the 2020 presidential election. In 2019, he asked Zelensky to investigate the ultimate Democratic candidate and his son Hunter Biden’s lucrative Ukraine Business investment. Trump was found not guilty in the Senate trial related to the Ukrainian phone call. A report issued by Senate Republicans in September 2021 found that Hunter Biden’s actions had “problems” but there was no wrongdoing.
When asked whether the two presidents discussed the charges against Hunter Biden at the meeting on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave a one-word answer.
“No,” she said.
Myroslava Gongadze contributed to this report.