By Peter Tase
On February 2, 2021, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Mr. Dmytro Kuleba had his first conference call with the recently appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and congratulated his US Counterpart. During this call, both parties highlighted the importance of strengthening the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States, as well as reinforced their mutual intention to make it more pragmatic and well versed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reported that: “The U.S. Secretary of State reaffirmed his unwavering support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Foreign Minister Kuleba stated Ukraine was ready to continue playing the role of a reliable European partner of the United States in the Black Sea region and in Central Europe. The U.S. Secretary of State stressed that the sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression in Donbas and Crimea should remain in place until Moscow fully implemented its commitments on the peaceful settlement of the conflict.”
According to Minister Dmytro Kuleba: “Our [US – Ukraine] relations are seeing the dawn of a new day” and noted that Ukraine would welcome the strengthening of the U.S. role in the diplomatic efforts to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict and de-occupy Donbas and Crimea.
Minister Kuleba emphasized that: “Russia must be made to feel that the price of aggression is too high to continue it.” Furthermore, both parties discussed on how to further deepen the political-military dialogue and cooperation in defense and security, trade and investment, as well as in countering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secretary Antony John Blinken reaffirmed the importance of Ukraine in maintaining progress on implementing economic reforms, ensuring the rule of law and judicial reform, and strengthening the system of anti-corruption institutions. Antony Blinken assured Dmytro Kuleba of the new U.S. Administration’s readiness to maintain robust economic and military assistance to Ukraine, including the provision of lethal weapons.
Another important, ongoing aspect are the cultural diplomacy projects fostered among both nations. The memorable legacy of Mark Twain in his travels through Odessa, is a fundamental milestone in the strategic partnership between Washington and Kyiv. Recently, the Ukrainian media, has reported that Mr. Andre Pigulevsky (owner of Skifian oysters, a family-owned enterprise of oyster and lobster farming) has provided financial support to erect the statue of Mark Twain, in one of the central plazas of Odessa. The decision to erect the statue of Mark Twain will further strengthen the bondage that has existed for centuries between Washington and Odessa; and generate tremendous opportunities for tourism projects that can be implemented with a US – Ukrainian capital.
Under President Joe Biden’s Administration, the strengthening of partnership with Ukraine, is a salient priority and the upcoming project of statue in honor of Mark Twain will add a significant value to his presidency in Odessa and throughout Ukraine.
The Statue of Mark Twain in Odessa, will eternally be considered as prelude to other cultural projects in the bilateral sphere, and bondage of brotherly ties between the United States and Ukraine will acquire new dimensions. It is worth mentioning that this unique project is being implemented by Mrs. Tatiana Chichkalyuk, head of Tylihul -Life NGO; Vadym Kravchenko – board member (Ukrainian national from Denmark) and Andre Pigulevsky, a strategic partner in the project, and owner of the first oysters’ farm in Ukraine.
Very soon, the Minister and the Secretary of State will be meeting in Washington to further discuss political and economic projects, including meetings with business communities of both countries.