Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the US for helping Kiev and asked Washington to tighten sanctions against Russia.
“The United States is a powerful and serious partner for Ukraine, first of all, in overcoming the aggression of Russia. We will not be able to overcome Russian aggression in Donbas and Crimea alone. Therefore, we need your help. I would like to urge you that the United States keeps increasing sanctions against the Russian Federation,” Zelensky said in a meeting with US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker and US Senator Ron Johnson.
Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the US for the assistance in the sphere of security.
He claimed that he would begin open, transparent and democratic reforms in Ukraine, following the US’ example: “We have a very good example of your country. Reforming Ukraine as a whole, in all areas, will not be held after the ceasefire in Donbas, but in parallel. Because we need it. We want to become a European country in terms of values and transparency.”
Essentially, Zelensky, in spite of his claims that he would seek de-escalation and to normalize relations with Russia earlier, is continuing former President Petro Poroshenko’s policy.
On May 10th, Poroshenko addressed the German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a request to strengthen anti-Russian sanctions. He justified the need for increased pressure on Russia, because Russian passports were being issued in Donbass.
In his inaugural speech, Zelensky spoke of the need to return the Crimea and Donbass to Ukraine. “Both the Crimea and the Donbass are Ukrainian land. We have lost not only territories; we have lost the most important thing – people. And today we just have to regain their consciousness. Over the years, the authorities did nothing to make them feel Ukrainians. They are not strangers, they are ours. They are Ukrainians,” he said.
He claimed that he was prepared to pay any price to reach a ceasefire, but only one that is also a result of Ukrainian victory:
“What price are you ready to pay for the ceasefire? It’s a strange question. What price are you ready to pay for the lives of your loved ones? I can assure you that I’m ready to pay any price to stop the deaths of our heroes. I’m definitely not afraid to make difficult decisions and I’m ready to lose my fame, my ratings, and if need be — without any hesitation, my position to bring peace, as long as we do not give up our territories.”
From his rhetoric, it can be expected that there will be no de-escalation by the Ukrainian side against the People’s Republics in the Donbass. He will more than likely continue the same policy of exponentially more aggressive steps.
“History is unfair. We are not the ones who have started this war. But we are the ones who have to finish it. And we are ready for dialogue. I believe that the perfect first step in this dialogue will be the return of all Ukrainian prisoners,” he said.
The difference is that Poroshenko, despite making more or less the same claims, failed in the eyes of the people. Volodymyr Zelensky is a new and young face, and he is likely to receive a bit of special attention to his new-old propaganda and “soft power” efforts.
How long that will last – only time will tell.
Separately, in terms of propaganda, on May 18th, the Ukrainian Embassy in the US accused Russia of targeting Crimean Tatars with detention, and forcing them out of Crimea. And that little had changed since the Ukrainians failed to stop Stalin on May 18th, 1944.
It turned out that the photographs used in the post were, in fact, from the Holocaust Museum in Lodz in 1944. The 2019 was the arrest of suspected foreign terrorist organization members.
Ukrainian diplomacy playbook:
🔹“1944 #CrimeanTatars deportation” is @HolocaustMuseum picture of the Lodz🇵🇱 ghetto Jews
🔹“2019” – arrest of suspected foreign terrorist organization members https://t.co/64uoHUKgKQ
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) 20 May 2019
In a lengthy response on their Facebook page, the Russian Embassy in the US commented on the accusations made by US State Department’s deputy assistant secretary George Kent regarding the matter
“Since Mr. Kent is a member of a family that suffered from the deportation, we stand ready to evaluate if he is eligible for social or any other rehabilitation within Russian laws.
In any case, we wish to warn him against showing further public support to members of “Hizb ut-Tahrir al Islami” international terrorist group (illegal in Russia), who were arrested in Crimea.”
The U.S. Department of State continues its pointless efforts to speculate on the tragic events in the history of the…
Thus, the same old rhetoric and escalations will continue, just with a new face in front.
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