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Biden and Zelenskyy get US-Ukraine ties back on track
3 September 2021, 12:17
author: Alyona Getmanchuk


Comment by Alyona Getmanchuk for the Atlantic Council.


Alyona Getmanchuk, Director, New Europe Center: President Zelenskyy’s visit to the White House was itself an important political signal. The fact that Zelenskyy was among the first eight foreign leaders to be hosted by President Biden gives us reason to conclude that Ukraine ranks among the top US foreign policy priorities. The language of the joint statement, along with the quantity and range of signed bilateral documents (the Strategic Defence Framework among them) enhances this message.

It now seems that not only Kyiv but also Washington is interested in revitalizing the US-Ukrainian strategic partnership. However, questions remain over whether the two sides agree on the appropriate level of future cooperation. We still lack clear indicators that the White House is ready to significantly upgrade its engagement with Ukraine by visibly increasing military and security assistance as well as deepening its involvement in Ukrainian issues.

There will be a number of important follow-ups to the Zelenskyy-Biden meeting in the coming months. The US Secretary of Defense is reportedly planning to visit Ukraine, while the Strategic Partnership Commission is expected to hold its first meeting since 2018, and the Charter of Strategic Partnership will be revised and upgraded.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, it is possible to say that US-Ukraine relations are slowly getting back on the right track. Nevertheless, much will depend the ability of the Ukrainian authorities to conduct anti-corruption and rule of law reforms, which the US considers crucial for Ukraine’s sustainability as a member of the Euro-Atlantic community.

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