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January 16, Joseph Biden visited Ukraine as Vice-President for the last time. Barack Obama, as the first face of the United States, has never come to Ukraine, but Biden has earned a reputation of country’s main friend. In December 2015, he held a speech in the Verkhovna Rada, and constantly remains in contact with the Ukrainian leadership.
This visit has put majeure point on Biden’s cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities. First the overseas guest met with Prime Minister Groisman, who said that Ukraine is not going to betray its path of the reforms:
"I want to assure you that my Government and I personally as the Prime Minister are not going to stop on the way of change in the country. We will continue to follow the path of the reforms that are designed to bring peace, stability, and tranquility in our country. We will do everything to ensure Ukraine’s statehood; all our efforts should led us to success. I know that these changes will be the best contribution to the success of our country."
The next point of Biden’s program was talks with President Poroshenko, after which they talked with the reporters. The officials exchanged mutual appreciation. Biden's main theses could be divided into topics:
Donbas and "Minsk"
"The political part of the agreement could not be implemented until Russia stops violence. Only after Russia and its puppets fulfill their obligations on cessation of hostilities in the East and let Donbas establish peace and security, the country can fulfill its political commitments," Biden noted.
Sanctions against Russia
"Together with our EU and G7 partners,” Biden said, “we made it clear that sanctions should remain in place until Russia fully, emphasise fully, implements its commitments under the Minsk agreement. The sanctions against the Russian Federation related to the Crimea, should remain as long as Russia does not return Crimea to Ukraine."
The need for reform
"Continue to work with the IMF in order to implement tough reforms that will ensure the stability of the Ukrainian economy. Continue to clean up the banking system, to introduce reforms in the energy sector, to eliminate Ukraine's dependence on Russian gas. Work on transparent privatization of state enterprises, create a business environment with a responsible regulatory and legal system that will make Ukraine an attractive investment. It will not be easy, I know, you will have to do a lot, you have to fight against the corruption, which continues to erode democracy in Ukraine, and to fight against the relentless aggression of the Kremlin," Biden claimed.
Interests of the country is above all
"One should keep these national interests over the personal ones; common well-being over fancy biases and paltry achievements. This concerns everyone – Ukrainian ministers, lawmakers, judges, reporters, civil society members and common citizens whose work is to demand responsibility from those in offices," he highlighted.
"I want to encourage the people of Ukraine to continue the fight against corruption, insist on transparency, investigate and prosecute officials who squander public money for their own enrichment. Russia in the last 10 years used another weapon of foreign policy, it uses corruption as a coercive tool against Ukraine for Ukraine remained vulnerable and dependent."
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko hopes that Biden has come to Ukraine not as a vice president, but as his personal friend.
"This is your last visit to Ukraine as the US vice-president, but certainly not the last as a good, reliable friend of Ukraine and a friend of President Poroshenko. Frankness of the dialogue, dozens of hours of telephone conversations and personal meetings... It was difficult, but effective decision-making process, which speeded up the process of reforms, on which depend life and death, the fate of the country and millions of its citizens."
He also hopes that Biden's successor, Mike Pence, will continue to support this line in Ukraine.
"We respect the democratic choice of the American people and are ready for effective and fruitful cooperation with the new administration. Ukraine has always enjoyed American support. And I felt it in the US Congress during the opportunity to speak to congressmen and senators in 2014. I emphasize that Ukraine continues to have bipartisan support from the US Congress, the Administration and the American people. We appreciate this support and sincerely look forward to it. I hope that in the future the Ukrainian issue will unite the entire American political circles, and will continue to be among the first priorities."