September 3, 2021



Zelenskyy and Biden summit ‘productive’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his meeting on September 1 with U.S. President Joseph Biden took place in a productive and constructive atmosphere, and that both parties are interested in a fruitful dialogue. “I don’t know if there was ‘chemistry,’ but the fact that the meeting lasted two hours instead of an hour shows that the parties are interested in the dialogue and the outcome of this dialogue. I believe that the meeting was held in a normal, productive, not in a constantly sunny atmosphere, but in a direct conversation,” Mr. Zelenskyy said during a conversation with the media in Washington after the talks with Mr. Biden. Mr. Zelenskyy said Mr. Biden gave him a positive assessment of the reforms being implemented in Ukraine. “He especially noted the land and judicial reforms. Everyone sees infrastructural changes in Ukraine and some kind of a result. I am pleased that they see positive things at the level of the president of the United States,” Mr. Zelenskyy said.  The Ukrainian president said that considerable attention was paid during the talks to the issue of Ukraine’s membership in NATO. Mr. Biden supports Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, but no specific dates have been set for joining the Alliance. “I have heard that the president supports Ukraine in obtaining NATO membership, but it is difficult to say what the path will be,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. He noted that security issues in the Black Sea region were raised during the meeting. “There is a specific issue and specific proposals. We will discuss them with the United States. I think that the U.S. secretary of defense will arrive in Ukraine. We will look forward to his visit and the meetings of the working subgroups on this issue,” said Mr. Zelenskyy, adding that Ukraine offered the United States a number of initiatives for bilateral cooperation. “Some of our proposals were new to the United States. They are interested. We have agreed that they will work out the details of these proposals, and there will be an answer,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. The Ukrainian president noted that during the meeting with Mr. Biden special attention was paid to the issue of the temporarily occupied Crimea. He said that the United States praised the idea to create the Crimea Platform. “This is a very powerful initiative according to the United States. They want to support this initiative. Crimea has been mentioned many times. Regarding the de-occupation of Crimea, with regard to prisoners,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. He noted that he proposed to involve at the level presidential level the United States in the process of peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbas. The two men also discussed threats from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project during their Oval Office meeting. Mr. Zelenskyy said that Mr. Biden assured him that, in the event of any threat to Ukraine’s energy security from the Russian Federation or other parties to the pipeline project, the United States will enforce sanctions against Nord Stream 2. “I believe that this is a great victory for us, although it is a complicated issue,” Mr. Zelenskyy said.  He also invited Mr. Biden to visit Ukraine. (Office of the President of Ukraine)


Zelenskyy met with businesses leaders

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with representatives of American businesses on September 1. The meeting included representatives of financial, energy, agricultural, infrastructure and defense companies. Mr. Zelenskyy discussed Ukraine’s Transformation Plan, which aims to attract about $300 billion in foreign investments into the Ukrainian economy. “We can do these transformations ourselves, but it will take about 20-25 years, so we need support from large companies,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. He also stressed that Ukraine is now taking real steps to support business. In particular, the Ukrainian parliament approved a historic measure on land reform, and the president said that Ukraine is interested in investing in the development of irrigation. Mr. Zelenskyy also reminded participants of the meeting that Ukraine is working on further banking reforms and is eager to privatize one of the largest banks in Ukraine, PrivatBank. “Many reforms, many steps. We are in a hurry, we do not have time to talk,” Mr. Zelenskyy said, while also urging American businesses to invest in Ukraine. (Office of the President of Ukraine)


Zelenskyy visits Holodomor memorial

During a working visit to the United States, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady Olena Zelenska visited the National Holodomor Memorial, which was opened in November 2015 in downtown Washington. The head of state and his wife placed symbolic sheaves of wheat at the foot of the memorial. Members of the official Ukrainian delegation honored the memory of the victims of the Holodomor. Michael Sawkiw, Jr., vice president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, and Larysa Kurylas, the designer, architect and sculptor of the National Holodomor Memorial, spoke with Mr. Zelenskyy about the monument’s creation. “This Memorial is an important symbol of the American people’s solidarity with Ukrainians and a reminder of one of the most dreadful tragedies in the history of our people and of all mankind,” Mr. Zelenskyy said after visiting the site. (Office of the President of Ukraine)


Zelenskyy met with NASA head

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Bill Nelson, on August 31. The president noted that Ukraine is interested in reviving its scientific and technological potential and considers cooperation with NASA an important component in the development of the domestic space industry. “Ukraine must become a space power again. Exploration and use of space for peaceful purposes is an important component of partnership between Ukraine and the United States,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. The parties discussed the prospects of participation of Ukrainian enterprises in the ANTARES project, the Artemis lunar exploration program, as well as projects that Ukraine can join with its unique space technologies. Mr. Nelson noted the courage and heroism of Ukrainians, which they have shown since Euro-Maidan and the Revolution of Dignity. Mr. Nelson accepted an invitation from Mr. Zelenskyy to visit Ukraine. (Office of the President of Ukraine)


Zelenskyy met with U.S. energy secretary

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on August 31. Mr. Zelenskyy thanked Ms. Granholm, who was the head of the U.S. presidential delegation that took part in the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform, for supporting Ukraine’s effort to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity. During the meeting, the issues of Ukraine’s energy security was discussed. The parties exchanged views on Nord Stream 2 and the threat it poses to the energy security of Ukraine and Europe. “Russian gas is the most polluted in the world due to significant methane emissions during production and transportation, as well as corruption, blackmail and manipulation,” Mr. Zelenskyy said after the meeting. He stressed the importance of creating effective safeguards against Russia’s use of gas as a weapon, and he noted the importance of launching regular trilateral consultations in the Ukraine-Germany-U.S. format. The parties discussed in detail ways to intensify cooperation between Ukraine and the United States in the field of energy, combating climate change and “green” transformation. “We have consciously chosen the path of reforms and decarbonization of the energy sector,” Mr. Zelenskyy said.  Ms. Granholm and Mr. Zelenskyy said that the involvement of the United States in the implementation of this ambitious plan opens up opportunities for building a new quality of partnership between the countries. Particular attention was paid to cooperation in the field of nuclear energy and the implementation of projects for the construction of additional reactors at Ukrainian nuclear power plants, and the use of small modular reactors. Mr. Zelenskyy expressed confidence that the launch of the Strategic Dialogue on Energy and Climate between Ukraine and the United States will contribute to the further intensification of bilateral cooperation and the practical implementation of joint initiatives and projects. (Office of the President of Ukraine)


Police clash with far-right group

Violent clashes broke out on August 28 between Ukrainian police and a far-right nationalist group trying to disrupt an annual LGBT Pride march in the port city of Odesa. Police detained at least 51 members of Tradition and Order, including the head of the ultra-nationalist group’s Odesa chapter. RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service reported Tradition and Order members used tear gas against police as law enforcement separated the neo-Nazi group from several hundred LGBT activists who had gathered for the Pride event. “A group of young people started attacking the police for no reason. It is clear that the police used proper means to stop the offense,” Mykola Semenyshyn, the head of the National Police in Odesa Oblast, told reporters. As a result of the clashes, 29 law enforcement officers were injured, mostly from reactions to tear gas. Police said they opened criminal proceedings against Tradition and Order members under articles of threat or violence against a law enforcement officer, riots and hooliganism. LGBT activists were on high alert after last year’s event was marked by Tradition and Order members attacking police and participants of the Odesa Pride rally. According to a U.S. State Department human rights report, last year there was poor communication between Pride organizers and police which contributed to law enforcement failing to provide adequate protection to the rally. “Many were afraid of a repetition of last year’s events and did not want to come,” Anna Leonova, head of the organizing committee of Odesa Pride, was quoted as saying by news outlet Dumskaya. To prevent a repeat of last year’s violence, this year police deployed more than 1,000 officers to protect LGBT activists from around 300 Tradition and Order counter-protesters. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)