US: Ukraine’s Chance to Win the Conflict Not Taken Seriously

US: Ukraine’s Chance to Win the Conflict Not Taken Seriously

US Vice-President Joe Biden visited Ukraine on November 20-21. His appearance was to be the main event at the festivities devoted to the first Maidan anniversary and the tenth anniversary of the «orange revolution».  According to Biden, it was an honor for him to be in Kiev at the time «the Ukrainian people showed incredible bravery».  The travel plan did not go smoothly. At a ceremony organized to pay tribute to the victims Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was shouted down by angry relatives of 100 protesters, known as the «Heaven's Hundred» who were killed in Kiev's «Euromaidan» revolution. «Shame!», «Shame!» chanted the protesters. The US delegation, which also included US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland who hit the headlines as she was handing out cookies to Maidan protesters, abruptly turned back and left the place of ceremony as its Secret Service escort  decided it was unsafe to leave the vehicles. Later in the day Biden made an unannounced stop to leave flowers at a separate memorial near the National Parliamentary Library of Ukraine to avoid the impression that he fled Maidan. The episode was described only by US media while the Ukrainian outlets controlled by Kiev regime wrote that the ceremony was held at Maidan as planned. When one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. But this time the Ukrainian authorities cannot hide away the fact that the ‘Maidan revolution» ended up in complete and utter failure. Lecturing prevailed in Biden’s remarks with less focus on the issues related to providing concrete aid.  According to the Washington Post, the Vice President focused most of his remarks on the need for Kiev to clean up its governance, economy and judiciary and to end endemic corruption. Once that happens, Biden said, international partners who have been «reluctant to pour much-needed financing into the country will increase their help». There is a great doubt that the reforms will be implemented and there is a little chance the aid package will go through. «Even if the guns in the east fell silent tomorrow», Biden said, «Ukraine would still face a struggle for its democratic and economic future... There’s a lot of work to do in Kiev».

The talks on economic aid wrapped up with lamentable results. The US guest promised $20 million for all reforms and the fight against corruption, no matter there is a great possibility the money will finally end up in the hands of corrupted officials. He also mentioned $3 million for providing foodstuffs to the refugees fleeing the combat areas. All in all, it makes it a one-two dollars per capita aid package. A good example of America generosity! Jill Biden, the wife of US Vice President, visited the military hospital in Kiev to express sympathy for the wounded. She never expressed any sympathy for thousands of victims suffered as Ukrainian forces shelled the Donbass.   

Trying to make its puppets stay in power the White House already feels the burden of providing substantial funds for Ukraine. 

Biden did not hide his preference for Yatsenyuk, so he told Poroshenko bluntly that progress will begin «with forming a new government — in days, not weeks». Poroshenko had tried as hard as he could to prevent Yatsenyuk being appointed the head of government, so the Ukrainian Prime Minister owes his position to the person who is the second in command to the US President. He won’t forget it. Biden has concrete goals to pursue in Ukraine. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has close ties to oil-field services company Halliburton with interests in Iraq, was the key driving force in the White House behind the  the Iraq war. Now the incumbent US Vice President has business interests in Ukraine. His son and former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski are members of the Burisma Holding board of directors. The company is the largest independent gas producer in Ukraine. By the end of this year, Burisma Holdings is planning to produce more than 700 million cubic meters of natural gas there. It has plans to start drilling for shale gas in the vicinity of Slavyansk.   

The hopes of government for substantial US military aid package were also frustrated. The White House has not made the decision to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons. First, Ukrainians have a lot of military hardware in storage; second, it would prompt Russia to increase aid to the areas under the insurgent’s control.  Officials in the Obama administration had said Washington believed Ukraine had enough lethal aid and the types of weaponry requested for Ukraine would be of only marginal value. They had also emphasized the need for a diplomatic outcome. Kiev hoped in vain the US would change its stance during the talks. So far, the United States plans to increase non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine, including deliveries of the first Humvee vehicles that proved to be useless on the battlefield as the experience of recent wars shows. 

The United States does not even consider the possibility of Kiev being a winner in the conflict; its only interest is to keep up the smouldering internal confrontation to result in the attrition of Ukraine and weakening of Russia. 

The joint statement made by Biden and Poroshenko on the adherence to the Minsk agreement (contrary to the recent Kiev remarks about the intention to tear the agreement up) was perceived by many as a success of Russian diplomacy. No need to be deceived; these partners pay attention on what the other side is to do while never remembering their own obligations. For instance, they talk about disarming «separatists» and putting an end to Russian support for them while completely ignoring such   provisions of the Minsk document as decentralization of power, including the Law of Ukraine on Local Self-Government of Separate Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (regions).  The law was adopted but then cancelled to never become effective. The provision that emphasizes the need for launching an inclusive national dialogue is ignored. The vote held in Donetsk is called «a farce», no matter holding the election was part of the Minsk agreement. The document envisioned the adoption of program aimed at restoration of normal life in the Donbass region. Instead Kiev introduced socio-economic blockade of the territories beyond its control.  

Under the circumstances the joint declaration of Washington and Kiev stating their allegiance to the Minsk agreement does not mean much. It’s just a cover for preparing the attacks to be launched by the Ukrainian military.

Each and every time Vice President Joseph Biden comes to Ukraine (this is the third time he came to visit the country in 2014) the Ukrainian military launch military offensives. That’s what should be expected this time too. 

Biden and Poroshenko Visiting Maidan Square/ Ukrainskaya Pravda photo