The White House meeting, nearly two years after both Zelensky and Biden were implicated in that historic first impeachment, was an opportunity for the Eastern European leader to set a new tone with a new administration.
Zelensky, for his part, suggests that he wants to move on.
On Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill, Ukraine’s president was asked about impeachment and whether US-Ukraine relations have improved.
“I want Ukraine to be known, not notorious,” he replied.
In the Oval Office on Wednesday, Zelensky made major requests to the Biden administration in front of the press, including seeking US input on the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO, establishing a possible US role in reaching an agreement in Ukraine’s Donbass region. is included. and requesting US assistance in freeing hundreds of people imprisoned in the Donbass.
“I have a very big agenda for our relationship, maybe not for this meeting, which is too short to answer all the questions,” Zelensky said. He said Ukrainian security issues would be a priority for the meeting.
Questions remain in the air about America’s long-term foreign policy approach.
Trump challenges America’s long-standing diplomatic role in the world, building a nationalist platform he assures will put “America first” and often increasing aggression with Ukraine in its ongoing dispute over Crimea. Despite this, will take the side of Russia. And although Biden has insisted that US diplomacy is back, even allies are wondering how long it will last – especially in the wake of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Biden said that “the United States remains firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression and our support for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.” He also said that the US and Ukraine “have a common value system.”
Biden indicated that the US will “continue to support Ukraine as it moves towards fully integrating its democratic reform agenda and movement into Europe.” And the joint statement of the two countries issued on Wednesday afternoon also underlined America’s solidarity with Ukraine.
“In the 21st century, nations may not be allowed to redraw borders by force. Russia violated this ground rule in Ukraine,” the statement read, later underlining that “the United States of America has been involved in Crimea (. )”
Wednesday tour details
Senior Biden administration officials said the White House meeting would be designed to demonstrate America’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying on a call with journalists on Monday that “Ukraine has committed to achieving independence.” In 30 years, our strategic partnership has never been stronger than it is now.”
In the Oval Office, Biden formally announced $60 million in new security aid, which officials on the call said would include new anti-javelin armor missiles. Officials said they expected to receive updates on the security situation in the region amid ongoing acts of Russian aggression. He would also pressure Zelensky to reform his country by targeting corruption.
US A source at a firm based, which is closely associated with the Ukrainian government, indicated that NATO membership and a defense agreement were top of mind.
After a meeting with the Congressional Ukraine Caucus on Wednesday afternoon, Zelensky told reporters through a translator that he and Biden discussed “safety measures” along Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while adding that those safeguards should be taken care of. Details still to be developed.
The US announced in a joint statement that it is expanding its COVID-19 assistance to Ukraine, “providing an additional $12.8 million in cold chain storage support and COVID-related assistance derived from the America Rescue Plan Act.” The US has already donated around 2.2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to the country. The United States will provide an additional $45 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine this year and also plans to allocate more than $463 million for development assistance, “focused on democracy, human rights, local governance and decentralization, privatization and judicial reform.” programs are included.” According to the statement.
Zelensky’s visit to the White House follows earlier meetings in Washington.
a long awaited meeting
During his time with Putin in Geneva, Biden indicated that Ukraine would be at the top during the summit and later said he had “communicated the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The meeting between Zelensky and Biden was originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday, but was moved as it became clear that August 31 would end with the final day of the war in Afghanistan.
The source at the US-based firm said there was some unhappiness in Kiev about the shifting calendar for the trip, which originally saw the end of July, as well as some concern about the strength of US support for Ukraine. . Nord Stream 2 and move on to Biden’s meeting with Putin before meeting with Zelensky.
“Bringing two heads of state together is a complex and fast-paced process,” a Biden official said on Monday’s call. “We want this meeting to get the attention it deserves. There are a variety of issues to discuss between the two sides, and we really look forward to the time and place to do that on Wednesday.”
This story has been updated Wednesday with additional details.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.