RFE/RL: Zelensky appoints U.S. lawyer as adviser amid outreach to Ukrainian diaspora
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed a U.S.-born lawyer of Ukrainian descent as an adviser with a mandate to build relations with ethnic Ukrainians living in the United States.
Zelensky named Andrew Mac, who heads the law office of Asters in Washington, as an adviser on November 5, according to a brief statement on the president's website, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.
Mac gave more details about his role in two November 14 foreign-agent registration filings with the U.S. Justice Department.
"The registrant participates in conferences and other engagements in his personal capacity that promote ties between Ukraine and the Ukrainian-American community and American investment in Ukraine which may indirectly benefit the president of Ukraine," one filing says.
Mac's tenure is for an indefinite period and he will not be paid for his services, the filing said.
Mac's appointment comes as Ukraine's reputation in the United States has taken a hit amid a Democratic-led impeachment hearing into whether President Donald Trump withheld military aid to the country in order to pressure its government to conduct investigations into a potential rival for the 2020 presidential election.
Republicans have sought to defend Trump in part by casting Ukraine as one of the world's most corrupt countries, RFE/RL said.
Mac's role will "likely involve" speaking with Ukrainian-American media or media outlets read by the Ukrainian-American community, according to the filing with the Justice Department.
Neither Mac nor spokespeople for Zelensky returned RFE/RL's calls for comment.
"Fighting the perception that Ukraine is corrupt is probably going to be part of his portfolio," said Andrij Dobriansky, director of communications for the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.
There are more than 1 million Americans that identify as Ukrainian, he said.
However, Mac's main role will more likely focus on promoting Ukraine as a place to do business, Dobriansky said. "President Zelensky's goal is to grow the economy, as he has very concrete budgetary concerns," he said.
Mac specializes in cross-border transactions involving the United States, Ukraine, and other former Soviet states, according to a biography on Asters' website.
Mac, born in New York City and raised in the Philadelphia area, is a member of the Ukrainian diaspora, according to the Kyiv Post.