Corresponasl in Washington
It took him two years, but finally Volodimir zelenski, the current president of Ukraine, has been able to visit the White House. Since taking office on May 20, 2019, Zelenski, a comedian and actor turned politician, tried to bring about this Wednesday’s visit, which served as a sign of support from the White House to a government constantly besieged by a Russia of expansionist desires.
Donald Trump, However, he not only blocked the visit during his tenure, but also withheld more than $ 400 million in military aid to Ukraine, conditional on Zelenski openly saying that he was investigating Joe Biden for his son’s business in that country.
Trump felt that suspicions that Russia had helped him win the election were unfair, and accused Biden’s family of having profited from his old businesses in Ukraine, whose government is an opponent of the Kremlin.
All that earned Trump his first impeachment. Biden is president today, and he has immediately opened the doors of the Oval Office to Zelenski, the second European leader to receive this recognition after Angela Merkel, a sign of the importance of Ukraine for Washington today. It also does so when US partners fear a withdrawal from it in line with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which culminated on Monday.
Europe free and in peace
Joe Biden said upon receiving Zelenski that he wants “a complete, free and peaceful Europe,” a warning to Moscow after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the war it is submitting to eastern Ukraine. The US president also said that he openly opposes “Russian aggression”, something that marks a drastic turn from Donald Trump’s policy.
Biden added that he hopes to visit Ukraine soon, a sign of support for Zelensky. The latter, for his part, gave Biden condolences for the deaths of 13 American soldiers during the evacuation from Afghanistan.
Zelenski also said through his interpreter that the US is “a strategic partner” and thanked him for supporting the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine. He also thanked President Biden for shipment of more than two million vaccines against coronavirus to Ukraine. Both leaders also discussed Biden’s refusal to apply sanctions in Europe for the construction of a Russian gas pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2.
Before yesterday’s meeting, Biden and Zelenski had spoken twice by phone, a sign that the current president is serious about supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia’s open war to annex parts of the east of the country. No Ukrainian president had visited the White House in more than four years, since Petro Poroshenko met Trump in June 2017. Then the Ukrainian government was dragged into the center of US national politics at the hands of Trump.
Origen del ‘impeachment’
Zelensky and Trump spoke on July 25, 2019. In that conversation, Trump openly asked the Ukrainian for “a favor”: that Ukraine investigate Democrat Biden, because when he was vice president he had demanded the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor, Victor Shokin, who he had investigated an energy company called Burisma in which he was a director his son, Hunter Biden.
At the time Biden was just a candidate for the presidential primary, although Trump already rightly anticipated that he would be his rival in the general election. The call, which was recorded and transcribed, leaked and precipitated Trump’s first impeachment trial, from which he was exonerated in February 2020. The former president was again subjected to impeachment a year later for his role in the Capitol uprising. .
Zelensky was accompanied to Washington by six ministers and advisers, including his chief of staff, Andrei Yermak. This Ukrainian lawyer was also implicated in the impeachment scandal. It was he who traveled to Madrid on August 2, 2019, after the famous call, to meet with Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, and try to organize a visit by Zelenski to the White House in September of that same year. Yermak returned to Kiev with the message that Ukraine should investigate Biden first.
That was the first face-to-face meeting between a representative of the former US president and a Zelensky envoy in Ukraine. According to the investigations of the Democrats during the impeachment trial, that meeting is a central part of the impeachment trial of Trump, because the ‘quid pro quo’ occurs, the request that Ukraine investigate Democrat Biden in exchange for a visit from Zelenski to Washington.
Since Russia opened the war against Ukraine in 2014, the US has has provided Kiev with more than $ 2.5 billion in security assistance. Before the Ukrainian leader’s visit, President Biden had already approved a new shipment of 60 million, which includes a shipment of FGM-148 Javelin, an anti-tank and portable missile. On Tuesday at the Pentagon, Zelenski signed several joint defense agreements with the US, including a major Strategic Defense Framework. The Ukrainian president also met with other ministers.