U.S. makes promises on issues involving Ukraine's defense, but Ukrainians to decide how country is governed, by whom
The United States has made pledges on issues involving Ukraine's defense, because Washington is interested in the country's integrity and lack of Russian presence on its territory, but Ukrainians decide whom to elect and how the country will be governed, U.S. State Department Director of Policy Planning Kiron Skinner has said.
Skinner was cited by the U.S.-government funded Voice of America as saying that what happens in Ukraine is important to the United States.
I hope you have seen that we have obligations on the issue of Ukraine's defense, she said, adding that this took place under the U.S. Administration of President Donald Trump.
According to Skinner, the result of presidential elections in Ukraine is important, but Ukrainians themselves will decide who is in charge of running the country and the form of governance.
U.S. Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker in an interview with U.S. Public Broadcasting Service said that irrespective of the outcome of Ukraine's presidential election Russia would "continue to test whoever is the president of Ukraine" using weapons of hybrid war.
Volker during the interview said the presidential race in Ukraine is between "a candidate who has established himself as against the establishment vs. the incumbent president, who is saying that, you know, I have worked hard, I have made a lot of accomplishments, we have more to do."
"And now the Ukrainian public is faced with this choice. Do they want someone who is just going against the establishment, promising massive reform? Or do they want someone who maybe has been disappointing to them in some respects, but has done more on reform than anyone else has in Ukraine for the past 20 years and stood up to Putin?" Volker said.
In his interview with the Kyiv-based Hromandske.ua media portal, Volker said the United States would continue working with whomever Ukraine elects president and noted Ukraine's progress over the last two years.
According to U.S. data, since 2014 the volume of U.S. military assistance to Ukraine has totaled about $1.3 billion. In March 2018, the U.S. approved the sale to Ukraine of 37 Javelin anti-tank missile launchers and 210 missiles worth $47 million. The shipment was made in April 2018 under the condition that the weapons would not be used on the front line in eastern Ukraine.
Currently, Ukraine and the United States are working on the expansion of bilateral military-technical cooperation, including U.S. assistance in strengthening the Ukrainian air defense system: according to some sources, Kyiv is counting on a positive decision by Washington on the possible purchase of American Patriot air-defense system Patriot. U.S. officials have said they are ready to discuss possibilities with Kyiv and the format of building up bilateral military-technical cooperation, including strengthening Ukraine's Naval Forces.
The second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine is scheduled for April 21 between showman Volodymyr Zelensky and incumbent President Petro Poroshenko.