Putin meets with Ukraine leader Zelensky for the first time
President Zelensky on Crimea: this is our land, our people&# 160;
The United States praises the progress made by the administration of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in its first year in office&# 160;
KIEV – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy advocates an increase in the number of venues where the issue of de-occupation of Crimea will be discussed, including at the international level. The leader of Ukraine said this on May 20 at a press conference in Kiev dedicated to the anniversary of his inauguration..
“This is our land, our people, and perhaps these sites are really not enough to talk about Crimea. Because, to be honest, the issue of Crimea is not raised in the Minsk process, ”Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, according to the press service of the President.
The head of state noted that within the framework of the Minsk process at the meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group there is a list of issues that should be discussed in accordance with the signed package of the Minsk agreements..
“There is no question of Crimea there. I agree that this is unfair, “added Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
At the same time, the President of Ukraine stressed that the Crimean issue is at the top of his agenda. The President stressed that the return of the Crimean Peninsula under the Ukrainian flag is one of the conditions for lifting sanctions against Russia – along with the de-occupation of Donbass.
“Despite the fact that some European countries have linked them only with Donbass and some think that their withdrawal is possible after Donbass returns to Ukraine, both the United States and Canada, and most EU countries, including Germany and France, always raise this question. They all understand and speak publicly about the sanctions policy, and recently Pompeo [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] told me about this: until Crimea returns to Ukraine, the sanctions will not be lifted, ”Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said..
In a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “Crimea is Ukraine,” published by the United States Embassy on Facebook on February 27, 2020, Russia is called upon to “end the occupation of Crimea.”.
“[The US] will support sanctions against Russia until it regains control of Crimea to Ukraine and fully fulfills its obligations under the Minsk agreements,” the US State Department said in a statement..
Russia’s influence on Donbass
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Russian Federation should influence illegal armed groups in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbass to stop the shelling.
“I am convinced and believe that the Russian Federation has the only influence on them. And they must influence them, “said the head of the Ukrainian state..
He also denied statements by representatives of illegal armed groups about shelling of civilian objects by the Armed Forces of Ukraine..
“For a month and a half, dozens of OSCE vehicles that go to that [occupied] territory are not allowed there. And they say that the OSCE is recording that we are shooting at civilians. We do not shoot at Ukrainians. We answer the militants – everything we do, ”said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
At the same time, he noted that he had never called not to respond to shelling by illegal armed groups..
“I wanted to show the whole world that we have a very powerful army. But we are not provoking. We are fighting for our country. If they shoot at us, we will answer. But we will not be the first to shoot, “he said..
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that after the statements of the militants, the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG convenes an urgent meeting in the Minsk format.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected President of Ukraine in the next elections on April 21, 2019, receiving the support of 73.22% of voters. May 20, 2019 took the oath before the people of Ukraine as the head of state.
USA: progress, moving forward
United States congratulates President Zelenskiy and his administration on their first year in office.
This is stated in a statement on May 20, published on the Facebook page of the US Embassy in Ukraine..
“When he was elected President, the United States sincerely welcomed his dedication to implementing the reforms needed to move Ukraine into a new era of stability, prosperity, democracy and subsequent European integration. We appreciate the progress made this year. More than 130 Ukrainians unjustly detained by Russia and its henchmen have returned to their families. The government has completed the unbundling process in the natural gas sector, which is an important step in strengthening Ukraine’s energy security. Decentralization efforts have advanced to empower local communities. Ukraine has implemented many reforms necessary for the new IMF program, ”the statement reads. US Embassy in Ukraine.
The American side declares its readiness “to continue to work with the country’s authorities to achieve its goals”, and calls on “people’s deputies, local and regional officials to resist the attempts of certain selfish circles to slow down progress.”.
“The United States is supporting work on the tasks that remain, which are complicated by Russia’s continued illegal aggression on Ukrainian territory and the COVID-19 pandemic. President Zelenskiy and his team are moving forward on eliminating the oligarchic system in Ukraine, strengthening the rule of law and ensuring the independence and integrity of anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies […], ”the US Embassy in Ukraine said in a statement.
A year of positive changes
Head of the Institute for Public Policy and Consulting Sergey Bykov celebrates the positive results of the year of presidency of Volodymyr Zelensky.
“And if earlier, traditionally, the ratings of all presidents fell in the first year in office, then Volodymyr Zelenskyy not only kept the rating, but also raised it. In the first round, 30.6 percent of citizens voted for him, today, when modeling the first round, forty percent of Ukrainians are ready to vote for him – this is the data of the social group Rating, ”Sergei Bykov tells the correspondent of the Russian service“ Voice of America ”.
According to Sergei Bykov, during the year of the presidency of Vladimir Zelensky, the “Normandy format” and the Minsk process were revived – the leaders of the Normandy four countries in Paris began to agree on a ceasefire in Donbass.
“The war has not been fully stopped, but we have already managed to disengage the troops near Stanytsia Luhanska and in Zolote, build a bridge in the delimitation zone, conduct an exchange of prisoners, – more than 170 Ukrainians returned home and another twenty during the coronavirus,” emphasizes Serhiy Bykov.
He says that one of the next tasks, which is being worked on in the office of the president, should be a strategy that will allow the return of Crimea..
“The Minsk process and the return of Crimea – these issues are delimited, because in the Normandy format it is impossible to talk about the restoration of territorial integrity in terms of the return of Crimea and the return of Crimea – these should absolutely be two different formats, and now the president’s office is working on this,” the political scientist emphasizes.
The prevention and fight against coronavirus in Ukraine, in his opinion, also demonstrated the active position of the authorities and allowed to launch the process of a phased exit from quarantine.
“We can state that today in Ukraine the number of those who recovered is equal to the number of those who fell ill. It is expected that the situation will improve and the number of those who have recovered will exceed the number of cases and the situation will come to naught, “says Sergei Bykov..
Year without results
In turn, political scientist Alexander Paliy is very critical of the first year of the presidency of Vladimir Zelensky and explains why.
“We saw that Volodymyr Zelensky had nothing to talk about during the press conference. Under Petro Poroshenko, the country emerged from the economic crisis and moved on to the process of economic growth. In some areas, growth was higher than global indicators, the last quarter of Poroshenko’s presidency recorded a 4.6 percent GDP growth. Under Vladimir Zelensky, the opposite is true – the fall in industrial production began from the first month of his tenure, “says Alexander Paliy to the correspondent of the Russian service of the Voice of America..
The quantitative indicators of the exchange of mutually held persons between Ukraine and Russia, in his opinion, also confirm the more successful diplomatic activities of the previous administration..
“Under Poroshenko, more than three thousand hostages were released, and Ukraine did not make any concessions. And under Zelensky, about two hundred people were released, in exchange Ukraine gave those involved in the shootings on the Maidan, to undermining peaceful demonstrators in Kharkiv, participants in the terrorist attacks involved in the death of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing, ”emphasizes Oleksandr Paliy.
Contacts with the United States, he said, remain as strong, but global support for the “Ukrainian issue” in the confrontation with Russia over the past year has faded into the background..
“The complete failure of Ukrainian foreign policy, including due to various contacts with China in the foreign arena. Ukraine has become a little toxic to the United States. At a time when we had bipartisan support, the Americans solidified around Ukraine, now we see the “Ukrainian issue” being raised in the context of international global support and the fight against coronavirus, “Oleksandr Paliy believes..
In this context, it is necessary to recognize, the expert reminds, that the process of returning Crimea really demonstrates Russia’s unwillingness to negotiate on this issue.