Thanksgiving, which is celebrated in the US on Thursday, provides us with an opportunity, for all of us, to truly comprehend the importance of the assistance given by Washington to Ukraine in all its complexity and multidimensionality and the future of such support.
Thanksgiving is, basically, a celebration that acknowledges God's blessings in one’s life — such as bountiful harvests, triumphs, and peace. This profound sense of gratitude endures even in the face of the consumerism of Black Friday or flurry of turkey and pumpkin pie recipes.
As Ukrainians we will always be grateful for the systematic political, military and financial support extended by the American people. We view this aid not only as a financial contribution or a long list of weapons but also as an acknowledgement of Ukraine's fight for justice. WE, and our partners, firmly believe that truth is on our side, and we are thankful for their support in this.
From this perspective, while the truly complex debates regarding the provision of support continue, we see these are political challenges that require dedicated efforts to be settled. However, there is no reason to panic – the governments of both Ukraine and the US have confidence that justice will ultimately prevail and be duly rewarded.
Over the course of two days last week in Washington, we conducted more than two-dozen fruitful meetings and discussions with members from both houses of Congress, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, representatives of the World Bank, USAID and the IMF. The intense two-day visit only affirmed my understanding of the situation.
Over the years, Ukraine has been at the center of political debates, capturing attention on various fronts. We’ve become not only a topic on the political agenda, but also a symbol of the ongoing political struggle between the government and the opposition. This is the nature of democracy, whose values we defend on the front lines. What the media may portray as a “storm” is the natural course of events that we must adapt to. It's essential to collaborate with our partners so that political competition doesn't hinder decision-making in support of Ukraine.
Our dialogue with members of Congress precisely focuses on this aspect. And this dialogue will never cease. Just like their support for Ukraine.
At the same time, we are contemplating Ukraine's future. The strongest indication of USA's assistance effectiveness, which we will continue to rely on, is ensuring self-sufficiency and independence, for Ukraine's economy. That's why we emphasize the importance of supporting Ukrainians until we reach the point where we won't need assistance.
The pivotal meeting that set the tone for the entire trip was, of course, the one with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The key topics of our conversation included military assistance, humanitarian aid, and financial support. We expressed deep gratitude for all the support provided to Ukraine by the US.
First and foremost, it’s about air defense equipment so that businesses can operate and foreign companies can return to Ukraine. This is particularly critical for energy facilities, as this winter Russia may attempt to destroy our energy system again.
Secondly, we require the restoration and transformation of the energy sector and investments in processing industries that makes a significant contribution to GDP growth.
That's why we proposed very specific investment projects to our US partners. In the context of energy, the importance of liberating the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest electricity generation facility in Ukraine, from occupation was emphasized. These two topics we discussed with Assistant Secretary Bureau for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt and Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose W. Fernandez.
The third area involves unlocking ports and restoring export capacities, addressing both the enhancement of maritime security in the Black Sea and vessel insurance. This is about ensuring the safety of shipping in the Black Sea and also about insurance for those vessels that collect or deliver freight.
We have already created the necessary mechanism with the UK and now count on American partners to join it. This unique product has aroused considerable interest in US government circles. Insurance, and not only of ships but general business insurance against war risks, can serve as a catalyst for unlocking the flow of private investments into Ukraine. This is a key focus in discussions with global insurers such as MIGA and DFC.
The fourth area we addressed involves establishing joint defense manufacturing ventures with American businesses. If even a part of the weaponry or details to it, we receive from partners is produced in Ukraine, it will contribute to our additional GDP growth.
The fifth sphere involves utilizing confiscated Russian assets for the restoration of Ukraine and compensation for the victims of the Russian terrorist regime. Our partners fully share our opinion that Russia must be held accountable for each of its crimes. Detailed discussions took place regarding the implementation of a compensation commission, the creation of a compensation fund, and the allocation of Russian sovereign assets to this fund.
Pragmatic and effective work in all these directions will significantly reduce the need for financial assistance to Ukraine. We anticipate a budget deficit of $41 billion in the coming year, so enhancing self-sufficiency is critically important.
The impetus for the intensive development of energy, transportation, and logistics, the agricultural sector, critical materials, processing industries, machinery, green metallurgy, IT, and the defense sector is the best way to achieve financial sustainability for Ukraine.
Therefore, we share a common understanding of the strategy – our partners are committed to supporting Ukraine until victory. At the same time, they are ready to help us become economically self-sufficient. To achieve this, the focus of our cooperation next year will be on strengthening sectors that contribute most to economic development. The cornerstone of this effort should be private capital, and I hope the result of the trip will be the starting of operations of American investors in Ukraine.
Most importantly, the enthusiasm to assist Ukraine remains unabated despite the fact that the war in Ukraine has been going on for almost two years. Regardless of the complexity of the political situation, key partners are willing to support us until we achieve economic self-sufficiency, dedicating no less effort to this cause than we do.
The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.
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