Phone talk between Biden, Zelenky to take place in near future – U.S. Dept of State
A telephone conversation between U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take place in the near future, but this call should be backed up by action, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent has said.
"So I think you're right that trust is very important in any relationship. That's again within a country as well as between countries. And I think President Biden established an excellent record when he was vice president of reaching out and trying to establish that trust with Ukrainian counterparts. Trust is a two-way street, obviously, and I anticipate that there will be a call between our leaders in the near future. But I believe it's also important to understand that a call, while taken as a symbol, has to be backed up by actions," Kent said in interview with Voice of America on Thursday.
He recalled that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken two months ago announced readiness to support Ukraine defending against aggression from abroad primarily from Russia and from the challenges from within. Kent said this administration is putting authority on anti-corruption action and helping democracies thrive.
"The expectations of Ukrainians and Americans are clear. Reform efforts need to continue and deepen. The justice sector is absolutely essential. How Ukrainian authorities get out of the constitutional crisis created by the Constitutional Court undermining reversing changes that were made is a real challenge for Ukrainians," Kent said.
He said that the United States as a partner is here to be supportive.
"But to be very clear, any legislation that rolls back the independence of organizations, whether it's the National Anti-Corruption Bureau or NBU does not help Ukraine and that will make it very difficult for international partners, whether it's the IMF or the United States, to continue to be as supportive of efforts when they are not leading to reform the change that Ukraine needs," Kent said.
The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary assured that with the filling of the team at the State Department, and when they all get vaccinated and can resume travel, it will be possible to see active U.S. diplomacy towards resolving the situation in Donbas.