United States and Ukraine meet in Washington to reestablish relations with each other

Emma Shanahan, Staff Writer

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. president Joe Biden met on Wednesday, September 1st at the White House. The meeting was highly anticipated and will be very important for Zelensky, as he has been asking for US support since he took power in 2019. Zelesky is hoping that the US will support Ukraine against Russian aggression and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and back Ukraine in their efforts to join NATO. 

One of the main points Zelensky made at the meeting was to ask the US for support against Russian aggression. Russia and Ukraine have been fighting since 2014, when Crimea was annexed. Relations between the two countries have been bad since then. In April of 2014, a group of pro-Russian separatists started a riot in the Donbas region of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian military arrived to control the rebellion. Russia and Ukraine continue to fight in that area and around the Crimean peninsula. The Ukrainian government has stated that Russia has been directly involved with the conflict, which the Russian government has denied. Biden has also pledged $60 million in aid for Ukrainian defense against Russia. Zelensky also brought up the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO, which makes some current members nervous due to Ukraine’s tense relationship with Russia. 

Zelensky has also asked Biden for support regarding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline will run from Germany to Russia, but will not run through Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. This could cause Ukraine to lose billions in gas and transit fees. The US had placed sanctions on Russia back in 2019, but  dropped the sanctions in 2020. At the meeting, Biden swore to protect Ukraine’s gas supply and keep Russia from using the pipeline as a geopolitical weapon. He has also promised to impose sanctions on Russia if it tries to harm Ukraine economically or militarily.

Zelensky has been wanting US support since he became President of Ukraine in 2019. When he took over, then-President Donald Trump congratulated Zelensky and encouraged him to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Trump and his team stated that Biden had been tough on corruption in Ukraine because of an investigation against a gas company that Hunter Biden directed. The Ukrainian government also became tangled up in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, which made relations between the countries less cordial. Now that the trial has ended, Zelensky wants to resume friendly relations with the US. Biden has already said that the US fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and will stand with it against Russia.