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Blinken's visit: Ukraine will be supported in the war, but without reforms MAP is not in the cards for Kyiv

Photo: UNIAN

Photo: UNIAN

The main result of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Kyiv lies in the plane of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The United States will not leave our state in this confrontation—Ukraine has received a clear signal about this.


Russian media are choking with bile, describing the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Assistant for political affairs Victoria Nuland to Kyiv.

At the same time, they broadcast the favorite message of the Opposition Platform—For Life: Ukraine is not a sovereign state, since it is under the external influence of the West. In addition, the Kremlin media note: the United States is only using Ukraine in its confrontation with the Russian Federation. Well, if Joe Biden is ready to take over the baton of Ronald Reagan in his active opposition to the USSR-Russia ("the evil empire", as the late president would say), then this is already very good.

As for the "criticism" from Moscow, here we should start from the opposite. As in the favorite film classics of the same Russians: "So, these are good boots, worthy to buy." Since there is so much discontent from over the northern border, the visit was a success. At least in the military-defense part.

Supporting Ukraine: not because of, but in spite of

However, the success of the visit is not a merit of the Ukrainian side. Indeed, even when Ukraine talks about military cooperation, about its aspiration to join NATO, it is not even like being disingenuous, but confines itself only to hollow declarations. Concrete actions are not visible—the Director of the Situations Modeling Agency Vitaliy Bala insists on this in comments to The Page.

He quotes the words of the Chairman of the OP, Andriy Yermak, about the need to deploy American Patriot missile systems in Ukraine, but at the same time reminds of something else. Namely, that for about two years Ukraine has not appointed its Ambassador to NATO in Brussels, and only recently the matter seems to have moved off the ground.

Therefore, not because of the efforts and aspirations of Ukraine itself, but because of the growing arrogance of Russia with its games on the border, our state received assurances of support from America, Bala notes.

And indeed it is. "Threats remain. Russia has withdrawn some of its troops, but a significant part remains on the border with Ukraine. Russia is capable of acting aggressively in a fairly short time if it decides to do so. We are carefully monitoring the situation," said Antony Blinken while in Kyiv.

And before that, being in London, the US Secretary of State repeated the words of President Biden:

Quote"If Russia chooses the path of unreasonable and aggressive actions, we will respond."

At the same time, he acknowledged that the United States would prefer a more stable and predictable relationship. And if Russia moves in this direction, the United States will also do it.

Blinken noted that Joseph Biden would have the opportunity to talk about it directly when meeting with President Putin. But will Putin defiantly disrupt negotiations with Biden, given Blinken's visit to Kyiv? The Page also asked the experts about this.

Russia will do nothing until the Biden-Putin summit

"Russia is hardly prepared for a fundamental challenge to the United States. It is now fixing her positions and doing everything possible so that America does not impose new anti-Russian sanctions before the talks between Putin and Biden. In the meantime, Russia will do what it does constantly, that is, continue to harm the rest of the world, including the United States."

Oleksandr Paliy

Oleksandr Paliy

Historian and political scientist

The Russian Federation understands very well that Blinken's visit is tied to Biden's next meeting with Putin, says Andriy Zolotariov, head of the Third Sector analytical center.

"But Moscow will not take any steps until the end of this meeting, it is not without reason that they have repeatedly noted that America should discuss the war in Donbas not with Ukraine, but with Russia. And the only thing worth fearing is that Ukraine might be discussed behind its back."

Andrii Zolotarov

Andrii Zolotarov

Political analyst

And in any case, a bilateral meeting between Putin and Biden will take place.

«The Russians will again talk about the inadmissibility of NATO expansion to the East—this is the old Soviet rhetoric, but, in my opinion, the purpose of the Biden-Putin meeting is different.»

Vitaliy Bala

Vitaliy Bala

Director of the Situations Modeling Agency

Moreover, this goal is different for each of them. Vis-a-vis, or rather, rivals, will thoroughly examine each other's capabilities, Russia will certainly probe the limits of what is permitted, and here it is important to show that these borders are very narrow.

“Moscow respects everything that is iron, that is, brute material force. Therefore, the firmer the position of the United States is now, the more constructive the conversation with Putin will be. The Americans are well aware of what is happening between Ukraine and Russia and in what tone one should speak with Moscow. And Blinken's visit only marked the pinnacle of the work that had taken place before him."

Oleksandr Paliy

Oleksandr Paliy

Historian and political scientist

Meanwhile, Vitaliy Bala emphasizes that even such a measure like the joint visit to St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral by US Secretary of State Blinken and Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epiphanius says a lot.

Epiphanius told Blinken about the oppression of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine believers in the territories occupied by Russia, and his interlocutor, thus, showed his respect for both the church and its leader. At the same time, as we know, Blinken came up to the Memorial Wall to the Fallen Defenders of Ukraine.

«I would also like to separately note the meeting with Epiphanius. It was significant. And deliberately. Since it was about showing respect not so much for the authorities as for Ukraine, for its fallen heroes. At the same time, it shownув what church the West recognizes and what it supports in the same struggle with Russia.»

Vitaliy Bala

Vitaliy Bala

Director of the Situations Modeling Agency

However, this ointment of solidarity with Ukraine had its own fly—in the form of Victoria Nuland’s words, who, when in contact with parliamentarians, advised Ukraine not to pursue the NATO issue.

«At a meeting with representatives of the factions, responding to proposals to accelerate Ukraine joining NATO, Nuland clearly answered: deal with reforms, and NATO is just a shell, and without reforms, Ukraine's accession to Alliance will not help. These words contain America's clear position. Ukraine will not get the MAP this year—no, not now and not under current conditions.»

Andrii Zolotarov

Andrii Zolotarov

Political analyst

And the reason for this does not derive from America's fear of an inadequate response from Russia. Although Europe really has such fears.

The path to NATO: about the MAP and full-fledged membership

Olexiy Haran, a Professor of Political Science at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, explains the situation with NATO to The Page. At the current NATO summit, Ukraine may again actualize the issue of obtaining an Action Plan for membership in the Alliance, but from the MAP to full membership there is not one step, not ten, but a whole marathon distance, says Haran.

The expert calls the MAP a "reception class" for Ukraine. But what is valuable is that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Ukraine's willingness to study in such a class, Haran said.

As for full-fledged membership, joining NATO requires meeting certain criteria, establishing a democratic system and the rule of law, and the like. But above all, this is a political decision.

"During the Cold War, NATO admitted Portugal, that was not a democratic country at that time, and Turkey was also admitted, that has problems with democracy even now," Olexiy Haran says.

"And if we are talking about the current situation, a number of old NATO members simply do not want to complicate relations with Russia. We remember how in 2008 the same George W. Bush lobbied for the granting of the MAP to Ukraine and Georgia, but France and Germany opposed this. They believed that this could provoke the Russian Federation to aggression. But Russia eventually attacked both Georgia and Ukraine, regardless of whether these states had MAPs or not."

Olexiy Haran

Olexiy Haran

Professor of Political Science at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Russia has indeed been and remains a huge stumbling block on our North Atlantic path. It will do everything possible and impossible to postpone the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO as far as possible.

Quote"When we become a NATO member, the risk of Russian aggression will decrease, but while we are achieving this, it will press and demand that this does not happen," says Olexiy Haran.

And yet—reforms!

Do not forget that Victoria Nuland's words were not so much about Russia as about reforms. Which, actually, do not exist. Or they exist in the wrong amount and in the wrong format and that does work for the West.

«On May 6, an auditor came to us, that was the purpose of the visit, and it’s funny for me to read that Blinken met with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and public figures to get some information. For this there is a diplomatic mission of the United States, where everything was prepared for him long ago, and not even for him, but for Victoria Nuland, who is well versed in our situation. I think the purpose of such meetings was quite different: to notify the current government that if it does not fulfill its obligations, there will be other candidates for this power who will have the support of the West.»

Vitaliy Bala

Vitaliy Bala

Director of the Situations Modeling Agency

He notes that purely protocol meetings of Blinken and Nuland took place with representatives of the Ukrainian establishment, who actually mean little.

"The mountain has brought forth a mouse, and the Secretary of State did not come with the agenda that we were told about," the expert notes.

Bala is convinced that no one came here to prepare a meeting between Zelenskyy and Biden. Moreover, if concrete steps are not taken in the near future to eliminate not only the oligarchs, but all the people who are hindering reforms, it will not make sense to talk about a bilateral meeting of the presidents at all, the expert adds.

Actually, one doesn’t have to go far to confirm these words. Blinken himself said, summing up his talks with President Zelenskyy:

Quote"There are many forces that oppose reforms and the fight against corruption. These include external forces, such as Russia, and internal ones—oligarchs and powerful individuals who pursue their own interests by illegal methods."

"Combating corruption is one of the most important issues for the Ukrainian people and decisive for improving their lives. We also talked about issues of corporate governance, transparency, integrity, and independence of anti-corruption bodies and the judiciary reform."

Antony Blinken

Antony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State

Thus, the homework for Ukraine is clearly outlined. On external fronts, the United States will not deny us its support. But the anti-oligarchic and anti-corruption "jihad" is a purely internal task. To fail in it means to lose subjectivity. After all, our independence (in the broad sense of the word) is encroached upon not only by the enemy from the "kerbside", that is—from the Russian side.

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