We are now several months into Trump’s presidency, and relations with Ukraine remain unknown for the future. Today, on June 20th, Trump held a meeting with Ukrainian President Poroshenko. The White House called it a “drop-in” according to NPR. Ukraine is obviously concerned about the new administration’s plans for future relations with Russia, and what it will mean for their own relations. Poroshenko found it vital to meet with Trump, especially before next month’s meeting with President Putin of Russia at the G-20 Summit.
Both leaders described that it was a “great honor” to meet one another. According to President Poroshenko himself, he was happy with the results of the meeting, stating that they had negotiated on military collaboration. There were no further details revealed. Some Ukrainians expressed discomfort when Trump stated, “It’s a great honor to be with President Poroshenko of the Ukraine.” This is mostly because of the geopolitical associations with the word “the”. After the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, the country made it clear to no longer use “the”, especially in news and media. The word often makes Ukrainians uncomfortable because it suggests Ukraine is still reliant upon Russia.
Earlier today, sanctions were placed upon 21 Ukrainian separatists, among others by the U.S. Treasury. The motivation behind this action was to punish those responsible for violating Ukraine’s independence and power. There were also individuals and entities associated with Russia’s annexation of Crimea and people connected to Russia’s avoidance of the attempted sanctions. From NPR, according to Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, “These designations will maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution,” and “This administration is committed to a diplomatic process that guarantees Ukrainian sovereignty, and there should be no sanctions relief until Russia meets its obligations under the Minsk agreements.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson questioned whether the U.S. would be behind the Minsk agreements, which is supposed to be a means of peace for Ukraine. Russia is not in compliance, however. Tillerson doesn’t want the U.S. to be tied to this agreement in case there are other resolutions brought up in the future. In this matter, the United States is still trying to figure out its role as a government, especially with the new administration.