Ukraine is fighting to save its young democracy—militarily against Russian-backed forces in the East, and politically, economically and socially against corruption and power struggles everywhere. Ukraine’s democratic development depends in part on its ability to maintain unity. That means healing the divides between East and West, especially in the face of the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and the subsequent incursion into the Donbass region. The U.S. Institute of Peace raises awareness of the issues in U.S. policy circles and supports Ukrainians in strengthening the bonds between citizens forced to flee the fighting in the East and their host communities in the West.
Ahead of the highly anticipated Trump-Putin meeting and the NATO summit in Europe later this month, Ambassador Taylor discusses the key issues that will be on the agenda at both, including Russian meddling in U.S. elections and Moscow’s aggressive actions in Europe as well as NATO members’ progress as it relates to U.S. concerns over burden-sharing.
Following a meeting between U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and President Vladimir Putin this week, the White House announced that President Trump will sit down with his Russian counterpart for their first formal summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. While both presidents Trump and Putin have repeatedly emphasized the need for improved ties, there are a host of contentious issues—such as the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent U.S. sanctions, Russia’s interference in U.S. and European elections, and the Syrian civil war—that could derail the effort to improve the bilateral relationship.
Ambassador William Taylor updates us on Ukraine’s efforts to upgrade its military with U.S. assistance to defend eastern Ukraine from Russian-led militias. Taylor weighs in on U.S. efforts to find a diplomatic solution to ease Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine, the effect of U.S. and European sanctions on Putin, and the recognition of the U.S. National Defense and National Security Strategies that Russia is a top threat.