The United States fully supports the international efforts – based of international law and the UN Charter- including in the Normandy Format, focused at negotiating a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Donbass, US President Joe Biden said Wednesday after the meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky in Washington, Kyiv Post reports.
The so-called Normandy format talks- that include Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany- over Ukraine began to be held with a meeting in June 2014 to discuss ways of settling the conflict in Donbass and continued to be held since then via telephone conversations and summit meetings with the last summit being held in Paris in December 2019.
Ukrainian president has reportedly favoured involving the US in the Normandy format or in an alternative format with Washington’s participation, but the US side has not yet confirmed its support for this initiative.
The joint statement on the US-Ukraine strategic partnership adopted on after the talks pointed at Russia as responsible for the continuation of the Donbass conflict and called on Moscow to genuinely engage in conflict resolution efforts and to recommit to the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine and to end the war.
The statement also shows the shared goals of both leaders on a number of issues, including climate change, human rights, democracy and the defense against Russian aggression.
President Biden reaffirmed that the US is firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity reiterating that it will not recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia, expressing support at the same time for the Crimean Platform format Kiev set up on an effort to realize its claims to the peninsula and for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspiration.
Arguing that NATO membership would give Ukraine greater protection from Russia, Zelensky expressed his frustration over the hesitation of its Western allies to approve Ukraine’s bid to join the military block.
But Wednesday’s meeting didn’t resulted with a timeline or a firm commitment by the US with regard to Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, especially in the light of Biden’s comments that the country needs to clean up corruption before it can be considered for membership, something Zelensky has disagreed with.
But despite the lack of a breakthrough, Ukraine gained a total of over $117 million from the US in military and humanitarian aid as a result of Zelensky’s visit, including the $60 million military assistance package that will include Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Meanwhile, Ukraienian state-run UkrOboronProm defense production conglomerate signed three framework agreements worth up to $2.5 billion with US defense companies.