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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Ukraine and the US sign agreements. Volodymyr Zelensky in the White House

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The US and Ukraine signed a declaration to strengthen cooperation in the field of energy and climate. Among other things, the document provides for cooperation in the field of improving corporate management in state-owned enterprises of the Ukrainian energy sector. Nuclear energy was also discussed.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Twitter that the Ukrainian concern Enerhoatom has signed a contract with Westinghouse Electric for the construction of a total of five power units at the Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant. The value of the project is US 30 billion.

The President of Ukraine also met on that day, inter alia, with NASA chief Bill Nelson. Projects in which Ukraine could engage “with its unique space technology” were discussed, Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter.

According to the Rzeczpospolita daily, “Americans also have an idea to reduce corruption in Ukraine”. “Although no one calls it that, the signed documents provide for ‘strengthening of bilateral cooperation in improving good corporate governance in state-owned enterprises of the Ukrainian energy sector.’ This would be achieved by ‘establishing international independent supervisory boards” in the main companies of the sector “- describes the daily.

US President Joe Biden will receive the head of the Ukrainian state at the White House on Wednesday.

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Zelensky in the White House

According to the Ukrainian president’s press office, the program of the visit includes a face-to-face conversation between Zelenskiy and Biden, preceded by talks in the enlarged delegation. As added, Zelenskiy is to meet with many representatives of the American authorities. Already on Tuesday, the president met with the head of the Pentagon; According to PAP, on Wednesday it is also supposed to meet behind closed doors with a group of congressmen supporting the Ukrainian cause in Congress. Moreover, according to President Zelenskiy’s office, “a number of documents” are to be signed during the meeting with Biden.

According to PAP information, these are agreements in the sphere of energy transformation, economic cooperation, as well as a new tranche of military aid for Ukraine. According to the PAP source in Congress, it is, inter alia, for weapons worth $ 60 million in the form of additional Javelin anti-tank systems.

At the same time, Washington expects Zelenskiy to become more involved, inter alia, in in the fight against corruption.

During his several-day visit, Zelenskiy will visit cities on the East and West coasts. He is to go to California to – as the Ukrainian authorities will know – work on new opportunities for cooperation between the USA and Ukraine in the field of IT and the space industry.

Date postponed twice

The date of the meeting of the presidents of Ukraine and the USA was postponed twice. Initially, it was supposed to be August 30, then the date was moved to August 31. Later, the meeting was postponed to September 1 in connection with the Taliban ultimatum on evacuation from Afghanistan, Zelensky’s spokesman Serhiy Nykyforov said.

According to the American side, the visit was postponed so as not to be obscured by the topic of Afghanistan. After President Biden ignored Zelensky’s request to meet Vladimir Putin in Geneva ahead of his summit, Washington wants to show that Ukraine is an important partner; Zelenskiy is only the second, after Chancellor Merkel, European leader invited to the White House.

The well-known Ukrainian political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko believes that the meeting will be fruitful, but it will not be a breakthrough. – The visit will bring results. But you should not expect any sensations, breakthroughs, none of the specialists has such overstated expectations, he said on Radio NW. According to him, a defense agreement will be signed during the visit. – It’s a framework agreement, one would like something more. But let’s be realistic: now the US is not ready to offer additional security guarantees, military aid; they got burned in Afghanistan, so they will act cautiously – emphasizes the political scientist.

According to the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, the visit may be a “big success” for President Zelensky, as long as he does not have unrealistic expectations of Biden, such as changing the decision on Nord Stream 2.

– Moreover, the more convincing the message about the commitment to internal reforms, the better his time in Washington will be – added the diplomat in a text for the Brookings Institution think-tank.

Zelensky’s first visit

Zelenskiy’s visit to the White House on Wednesday will be his first visit to the White House, despite many months of efforts, first under Donald Trump and then under Joe Biden. The White House meeting was one of the incentives the Trump administration offered in return for announcing an investigation against Biden during the election campaign. Ultimately, the two leaders met, but not in the White House, but on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / JIM LO SCALZO

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