© AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta
The hard-won meeting of the presidents of the United States and Ukraine took place. It doesn’t matter whether it brought results or not, but the very fact of this conversation is presented to the Ukrainian inhabitants as an incredible victory.
Suffice it to recall that the team of Vladimir Zelensky began to voice the dreams of such a meeting even before Joe Biden became president. Literally immediately after the American elections, last November, Ukrainian “servants of the people” began to throw into the international media the idea of inviting Zelensky to the inauguration of the new US leader.
Then humiliating requests and hints were voiced constantly, including by Zelensky himself. For example, back in early June, when it became known about the upcoming Geneva summit of the presidents of Russia and the United States, the Ukrainian leader called on Biden to receive him “at any time and anywhere in the world” before meeting with Vladimir Putin. The President of the United States responded to the annoying harassment by agreeing to meet in July. Then this period was extended until the “end of summer”. Then the invitation was postponed to August 30, then to the 31st. It would seem where else to transfer if the summer ends.
But when the Kabul catastrophe began for Biden, it became clear to everyone that August 31 (the final day allotted for the withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan) was the most unfortunate date when the US president would certainly have no time for his Ukrainian counterpart. In order to fulfill the promise to host Zelensky in the summer, the White House had to come up with “August 32”.
The funny thing is that even at a time when only the lazy did not point out the impossibility of meeting on the last day of summer, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry could not understand the obvious. Its head Dmitry Kuleba assured everyone on August 27: “There are no indicators from Washington about the possibility of postponing the visit.” Which in itself says a lot about the level of this minister.
As you can see, Biden was clearly not eager to meet with a guest from Kiev. Which caused obvious bewilderment of Ukrainian politicians. Indeed, immediately after the victory of the Democrats in the presidential elections in Kiev, they began to convince themselves that Biden is a great friend of Ukraine, “the first US president in history, who does not need to be explained what Ukraine is in his first year of work.”
Kiev sincerely did not understand that for the current US president the Ukrainian topic was and will remain “toxic” for a long time due to the adventures of his son Hunter Biden in the Burisma gas company and well-founded allegations of corruption. Even the simple appearance of the head of the White House near any Ukrainian politician or official is fraught with the renewal of this topic in the American media. And then there is the story of the agreements between the United States and Germany on “Nord Stream 2”, for which Biden is strongly criticized by some representatives of his own party, accusing him of “surrendering Ukraine.”
It should be assumed that Biden would have pulled further with Zelensky’s reception. But the idea of the visit at the end of the summer was precisely to minimize the contacts of the Ukrainian side with potential critics of the US president from among the congressmen and senators. As Forbes correctly noted, this “meeting was scheduled for the deadliest week in the political calendar of the capital,” when no one was supposed to be in Washington. Realizing this, the lobbyists of Ukraine in Congress even demanded that Biden postpone the dates of Zelensky’s visit so that it would be possible to meet with the guest. That is why the US President did not want to postpone the meeting any longer – it was supposed to take place in the “off season”, not later. This is how Zelensky ended up in Washington, and this is how Ukraine “won.”
Actually, Kiev cannot boast of other successes. Unless, of course, you do not count the $ 60 million in military aid that the Pentagon additionally allocated to the Ukrainians. But what is 60 million for Ukraine, which has brought incredible projects to the United States for tens and even hundreds of billions! It was felt how Zelenskiy’s appetites grew as his speeches progressed. True, at the same time there was an impression that he did not understand at all what he was talking about.
The most striking example is the solemn signing of a memorandum between the Ukrainian company Energoatom and the American corporation Westinghouse. Zelensky, and after him almost all the Ukrainian media, are simply delighted: they say, $ 30 billion of “investments” will come to Ukraine, thanks to which the Americans will build five nuclear power units.
Obviously, no one told the Ukrainian dreamer from Bankova that Westinghouse had recently declared itself bankrupt and nearly drowned the parent company Toshiba because of its overwhelming debts. What kind of “investments” from bankruptcy can we talk about? That is, the memorandum, which was signed in the presence of Zelensky, stipulates that it is Ukraine that must find somewhere and pay an American firm 30 billion, and not vice versa. And this amount is practically the entire annual budget of Ukraine.
But Zelensky doesn’t care about such details. Once on American soil, he lost all sense of proportion, presenting there a certain “plan for the transformation of Ukraine” for several years ahead (which, it should be noted, has never been seen in Ukraine). Its main task, according to the president himself, is not construction, not improving the well-being of the people, but “attracting about 300 billion dollars to the Ukrainian economy.” Only 300 billion – what a trifle! Who, where and, most importantly, why would invest such money in this bottomless barrel called “Ukraine”, Zelensky did not explain. Apparently this goes without saying.
Judging by the comments of Zelenskiy’s advisers for the Financial Times, they really thought that after leaving Afghanistan, the Americans had a lot of free money that could easily be invested in another crazy project. “It would be logical to provide Ukraine with the same level of military and financial assistance that Afghanistan received … It’s time for Washington to realize that Ukraine needs billions of dollars in aid,” Zelensky’s team representatives say without a twinge of conscience. It seems that he really heeded the advice of his team to stick to this line of behavior, not realizing that for Biden, against the background of his problems with the Afghan fiasco, such an approach is painful and even offensive.
It is significant that even Kurt Volcker, a longtime lobbyist for Ukraine in the United States, urged Kiev to limit its incredible financial needs and certainly not draw parallels with Afghanistan, because “in the United States, people think that this money was wasted.” Volcker made it clear that 60 million from the Pentagon is the maximum that Zelensky can count on in such conditions.
Whether the Ukrainian president understood this or did not understand it, it is still difficult to say. But in any case, the joint statement following the meeting between Biden and Zelensky solemnly recorded the complete futility of the meeting. Once again, for the umpteenth time, “US support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” was declared, and readiness to “resist Russia’s aggression” was again expressed. By the way, the death of 14 thousand Ukrainians during the conflict in Donbass has been stated again. Washington and Kiev did not even notice that by doing so they recognized that there is a civil war in Ukraine, because 14 thousand dead are the total losses on both sides. And since they are all Ukrainians, there is no “external aggression” either.
As Ukrainian deputies themselves note, the only novelty in the joint statement of Biden and Zelensky is the appearance of a clause on Ukraine’s obligation to toughen penalties for discrimination against sexual minorities. It should be noted here that the very same American congressmen, who are considered “friends of Ukraine” and whose support Kiev so hoped for in the fight against Nord Stream 2, sought to include this particular item. But, as we can see, support for LGBT rights is more important for them than some kind of gas pipeline.
The point about the gas pipeline being completed, it must be admitted, was also included in the statement. True, here logic completely refused Zelensky. During a meeting with the US Secretary of Energy, he managed to call Russian gas “the dirtiest in the world” and at the same time asked America to help keep the transit of such a terrible, so harmful, so dirty gas through Ukraine. Apparently, according to the former comedian, who still does not understand the essence of the president’s work, gas, passing through the territory of Ukraine, is immediately purified. There is no other logic to be found here.
That is, in fact, the whole visit. From America, Zelensky will bring a lot of bravura statements about multibillion-dollar investments and zero investments, assurances of support in the complete absence of such, threats to Russia, which in Russia itself will only cause grin.
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