Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet US President Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday. During the visit, leaders will sign a series of agreements in key areas. Experts in Kiev say the meeting will “be fruitful”, but do not expect a breakthrough.
According to the press office of the Ukrainian president, 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. The President of Ukraine arrived in the USA on Tuesday and that day he met with the head of the Pentagon. According to PAP, on Wednesday it is also 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, these are agreements in the field of energy transformation, economic cooperation, as well as a new tranche of military aid for Ukraine. According to PAP, the interlocutor in the Congress is concerned with, inter alia, for $ 60 million worth of weapons 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 authorities in Kiev will know – work on new opportunities for cooperation between the USA and Ukraine in the field of IT and the space industry.
Meeting date being changed
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.
This could be Zelensky’s success
Ukrainian political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko believes that the meeting will be fruitful, but not 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 have had a profession in Afghanistan, so they will act cautiously, stresses the political scientist.
According to the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, the visit may be a “great 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.
First visit to the White House
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 margins of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019.
Main photo source: (NASA / Bill Ingalls) / PAP / EPA