Charge d’Affaires of the United States in Ukraine Kristina Kvien expressed confidence that a telephone conversation between U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take place.
“Secretary Blinken’s remarks confirm that Ukraine will be a high priority for the administration and there’s no doubt that a call between President Biden and President Zelensky will happen,” Kvien said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
In turn, Deputy Political Counselor Lynette Behnke pointed out that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine hopes that both presidents will be able to talk directly, that it is essential to recall that, nevertheless, much has been achieved at other levels, somewhat below the level of the leaders of the countries.
“In early February, very early in this administration, Secretary Blinken spoke to his counterpart, Foreign Minister Kuleba. Defense Minister Taran has spoken with Defense Secretary Austin. Head of the Presidential Office Yermak spoke to National Security Advisor Sullivan. Other senior officials will connect in the near future. And every day at Embassy Kyiv we are working together with our Ukrainian counterparts on our common priorities,” she explained.
Behnke noted that both the White House and Secretary of State Blinken have repeatedly stressed the United States’ commitment to supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The Secretary made a very strong statement supporting Ukraine on the 7th anniversary of the purported annexation of Crimea. He made a special video to underline his personal commitment. The Biden administration has wholeheartedly welcomed Ukraine’s Crimean Platform initiative,” she added.
“Meanwhile, our security and development assistance continues unabated. To give a concrete example, we announced another tranche of $125 million in security assistance on March 5,” Behnke said.
U.S. President Joe Biden should establish direct and trusting relations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in order to return to normal relations between the countries, experts say.
This recommendation is contained in the “Biden and Ukraine” strategy developed for the administration of new U.S. President Joe Biden, which was released on Friday.
The authors of the work are former NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, former Ambassadors to Ukraine John Herbst and William Taylor, chief analyst of the Eurasian Center of the Atlantic Council Anders Aslund, former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Daniel Fried and Deputy Director of the Eurasian Center of the Atlantic Council Melinda Haring.
“The first order of business should be to establish straightforward relationship, a relationship of trust between Biden and Zelensky after efforts by Trump to leverage the United States’ relationship with Ukraine for his own political benefit. Despite Trump’s actions and the subsequent impeachment process, the United States continued to provide bipartisan support for Ukraine, which testifies to its important interests there and the wisdom of congressional leaders. Still, this experience has left the Zelensky team with real concerns about its relationship with Washington and its image among the U.S. public,” the experts said in the document.
The authors believe that a return to normal the U.S.-Ukrainian relations “will inevitably take time” as the new administrative staff its senior foreign policy ranks.
According to the recommendations, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already called Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba and “it is important that Biden, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan be in touch soon with their Ukrainian counterparts to underscore the administration’s commitment to cooperate closely with Ukraine.”
“The big objectives of the U.S. policy have been the same since 2014: to help Ukraine defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of Kremlin aggression, and to help Ukraine undertake the reforms needed to become a nation of laws with a growing and prosperous economy. The Biden team is uniquely qualified to pursue these objectives successfully,” the analysts said.
In addition, they said that vice president, Biden was a hands-on policy maker for Ukraine.
“Now, as president, he will not have the time for that, but he should reach out to Zelensky, first by phone Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attend a joint news conference after a Normandy-format summit in Paris, France, December 9, 2019. Establishing a president-to-president understanding will facilitate policy dealings at lower levels and increase US clout in Kyiv, which will prove important as it works with Ukraine on difficult reform issues,” according to the recommendations.
In their opinion, it is necessary to appoint an ambassador to Ukraine as soon as possible and work with Congress to increase military assistance to Kyiv in the amount of up to $500 million per year.
“Appoint an ambassador as soon as possible. Quickly name a strong candidate who has Biden and Blinken’s trust as the new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and work for their quick Senate confirmation and dispatch to Ukraine,” the experts said in the document.
“Name a special envoy or empower a senior subcabinet official to either join the Normandy Format or to consult frequently with the four players,” the authors said.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Greek President Katerina Sakellaropula for agreeing to assist in obtaining vaccine against COVID-19 and invited her to the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence
“I wish health to the Greek people. Grateful to President of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou for helping obtain more COVID-19 vaccine. I invite you to the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. Glad to facilitate the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Greek revolution where our Odesa played an important role,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
Daniel Tonkopiy, co-founder of the Ukrainian electric bike company Delfast, expects support from President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to build a plant for the production of Ukrainian electric bikes.
He wrote on his Facebook page that he plans to establish a serious production of tens of thousands of electric bikes a year with a design and engineering bureau, production of metal, plastic, electrical and electronic components, battery assembly, software development and much more, which is necessary for the production and assembly of electric vehicles.
“I presented our project to the president, told him that the Mexican police ride our bikes. Zelensky immediately offered his help in transferring Ukrainian police officers to our electric bikes: “We will help, you can contact me. Yes, directly. My team will help,” Tonkopiy said, citing the president as saying.
He also said that Zelensky announced his readiness to help Delfast to build a plant for the production of electric bikes, presumably in Kyiv region.
Delfast already has a confirmed demand for tens of thousands of bikes from customers around the world, Tonkopiy said.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky calls for maintaining the tax rate for IT employees at 5%, the President’s Office website reports.
“This industry in the country is developing not due to the state support, but due to the intelligence of Ukrainians. One of the steps that the state can take is not to increase the tax burden on this industry,” the president said at a meeting with representatives of IT business in Lviv within a working trip to the region.
Zelensky noted that at present it is one of the few professions that can not only ensure a decent standard of living, but also reform the state and help combat corruption.
“It is with digital that we can implement any important reforms. And what everyone is saying: we need honest customs, honest law enforcement agencies, we need to overcome corruption – we all understand that the human factor is very difficult to fix. But digital and IT industry can do it,” the president said.
The President of the IT Ukraine association, Taras Kytsmey, added that the Ukrainian IT industry has prospects for development and maintaining such a tax rate will facilitate the influx of personnel from abroad and ensure the retention of talented professionals in Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the law on amendments to certain Ukraine’s legislative acts on government support of culture, creative industries, tourism, small and medium businesses due to the restrictive measures related to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
“Creative industries, cultural institutions are among those which suffered most from lockdown. After all, their activities have stopped almost completely and now they live in total uncertainty. These are entire sectors of the economy that are now on the brink of survival. They also pay taxes and provide people with jobs, therefore, need no less support than traditional business sectors,” the head of the state said during signing the document.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted law No. 692-IX at second reading on June 16. It was supported by 343 MPs. The document establishes a reduction in property rental fees at the request of the tenant of a cultural institution engaged in entrepreneurial activity using this property, for the entire time that it could not be used.
The document also provides additional opportunities for radio by simplifying procedures by amending the law of Ukraine on advertising.
It is important that the document also stipulates the government support for cinematography in the form of providing a government grant for the development of film projects. It is noted that for national fiction, animated, documentary films, films for children (including artistic and cultural significance), films of artistic and cultural significance (copyright), television films, series and debut films, it can be up to 100% of total estimated cost inclusive.
Amendments are also being made to the law of Ukraine on the rental of state-owned and communal property in order to normalize the provision of paid services in the field of culture and arts by cultural institutions.