KYIV – After a 15-month hiatus, the head of the largest organization representing U.S. citizens of Ukrainian heritage visited Ukraine on a fact-finding mission where he discussed “concrete issues” with high-level government, security and diplomatic officials, as well as a member of parliament.
Two weeks after the Biden administration waived congressionally mandated sanctions on Nord Stream AG, the company behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the first link of the subsea line is completed and ready for testing (Vesti.ru, June 4). But the Russian president knows it is too early for a victory dance. Amidst a flurry of sharp reactions to the sanctions’ waivers from the U.S. Congress and most Central-East European states, and the ongoing U.S.-German talks on mitigating the potential negative impact of the pipeline completion on Ukraine, the future of the pipeline remains uncertain.
LVIV – Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers lowered the country’s COVID-19 danger level to green, the lowest designation, and eased certain pandemic measures, particularly those requiring self-isolation and requirements for mass events and social distancing. It did, however, extend an emergency COVID-19 lockdown categorization until August 31, the country’s prime minister said on June 17.
WASHINGTON – Congressional Ukraine Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), heralded the allocation of a $150 million package for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which will be used to help Ukraine better defend itself against Russian aggression.
RANDOLPH, N.J. – The Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) held its 32nd national convention virtually on June 5. Delegates to the convention elected Natalia Pawlenko as the organization’s new president.
GENEVA – The presidents of the United States and Russia were met in Geneva on June 16 by a rally calling for an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Organized by the Ukrainian Society of Switzerland, the demonstration was part of a global campaign by the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) aimed at raising awareness of Russia’s ongoing military and economic aggression against Ukraine. Activists held signs that read “Crimea is Ukraine” and others held a sign that included the hashtag #StopRussianAggression.
On June 16, U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held their first summit in Geneva. It came five months into Mr. Biden’s term and 21 years after Mr. Putin was first elected president. Most reports from the summit saw only modest outcomes, as the two presidents discussed nuclear arms and diplomatic relations between the two historic adversaries.
Thirty years ago, on June 23, 1991, thousands of protesters, who were undaunted by thundershowers, marched down Kyiv’s main thoroughfare, the Khreshchatyk, to protest Ukraine’s intent to sign the union treaty with Moscow that summer.
Ukraine’s struggle to finally separate from Russia continues even as multiple other events and issues compete for the world’s attention. This is understandable but worrisome for Ukraine as it works to maintain international support for this effort. We, the Ukrainian diaspora, search for ways to contribute to Ukraine’s fight for security.
The takeaway for Ukraine is that the Biden-Putin summit in Geneva apparently did take place. There were two press conferences, one by each of the principals to prove that. Apparently, the only tangible result was the renewed exchange of ambassadors. For the American cynic this was a far cry from Helsinki and thus a major victory for the American side. But success cannot be measured by Trump years.