First Poroshenko-Trump meeting: important nuancesVolodymyr Ohryzko
A very positive atmosphere is forming around the upcoming meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump – that’s because it’s becoming increasingly obvious for all that Russia has been implementing a policy in respect of all civilized countries (not only the United States but the EU member states as well) aimed at ensuring that these countries get into squabbles and any prospects of European or Transatlantic solidarity fade. Today it is evident even to those in America who desperately refused to believe that Russia had meddled with their presidential elections. This leaves Trump is very little room to maneuver in his foreign policy steps. At the same time, this gives Ukraine the chance to use the situation for its own ultimate benefit.
Therefore, the preparations for the meeting and the talks as such will see, besides a very serious Ukrainian-American context, the international vibe as well. After all, it’s clear to everyone that the issue of Russian aggression will be on the agenda.
The fact that Poroshenko will get to see Trump before the latter’s meeting with Putin is not a matter of principle but still an important point. That’s because this means that Putin will not be able to impose on his U.S. counterpart any idea about something that is actually not there. He won’t be able to tell him things that are far from reality, but to which Trump could react because of certain personality features. In this context, receiving information "first hand" is a really important point.
The fact that Poroshenko will get to see Trump before the latter’s meeting with Putin is not a matter of principle but still an important point
I believe that Poroshenko’s visit to the U.S. will definitely yield some positive results. Even more so, against the background of Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy’s trip across the Atlantic and those positive messages that followed. It’s about the intention of American legislators to extend Russia sanctions, in a form disabling Trump from canceling those restrictions without their permission. It is also about a quite tough stance against Putin by both Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. So the context for Ukraine today is absolutely positive.
Therefore, if Poroshenko manages to convey to Trump as clearly as possible information on what is happening in eastern Ukraine, what has happened and is still happening in Crimea, it will be difficult for the U.S. president not to react in the interests of Ukraine. So, in my opinion, Kyiv could at least expect confirmation of sanctions and their continuation, and in a more positive variant - their expansion, and even more preferably - the transition from words about concrete military assistance to action. That is, for Ukraine to finally get from the U.S. lethal aid it now urgently needs both for protection from Russian aggression and deterring Russia.
Volodymyr Ohryzko is a chief of Russia Research Center, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine