The US authorities are again trying to put pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Washington Post writes about a similar strategy of the administration of American leader Joe Biden.
As the newspaper notes, earlier the head of Ukraine had already experienced pressure from the previous US President Donald Trump, who tried to force Zelensky to “dig up dirt on Biden.” The current administration, in turn, seeks to push the Ukrainian president to implement a series of anti-corruption reforms that should help stabilize the economic situation in the country and maintain its independence from Russia. So, it is known that Biden has not yet held an official conversation with Zelensky since taking office. Such a lack of calls from Washington can be perceived as an attempt to exert additional pressure on Kiev, the newspaper emphasizes.
In February, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, during telephone conversations with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, stressed the importance of Kiev maintaining “progress in the fight against corruption and the implementation of the rule of law and economic reforms.” In addition, in early March, the United States imposed sanctions on Ukrainian businessman Igor Kolomoisky, which was also supposed to serve as a signal for Volodymyr Zelensky and remind him of Washington's expectations.
In response, the office of the President of Ukraine thanked its partners for their support in the “battle with the oligarchs.” Also, shortly before that, Zelensky put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) on the application of sanctions against several TV channels: 112 Ukraine and regional channels under his logo, as well as NewsOne. However, the Washington Post notes, such steps on the part of the Ukrainian leader are still not enough to establish full-fledged partnerships with Biden.
“He must insist on judicial reform, restore the independence of the Central Bank and rule out any attempts to weaken the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. He must unequivocally break with Mr. Kolomoisky and support the criminal case against him, ”the newspaper said.
On February 1, Zelenskiy noted that he hopes, sooner or later, to receive an invitation from Biden to a meeting at the White House. According to him, he needs to discuss in Washington a number of important issues related to security in Europe. Prior to this, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed confidence that Biden would find a common language with Zelensky and that some kind of “chemistry” would emerge between the leaders of the two countries, which would help strengthen cooperation.