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Farewell tour of “old Joe”: Biden’s last visit to Ukraine

If you remember, the anti-terrorist operation in Donbass was preceded by the visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and CIA Director John Brennan to Kiev. During that visit in Apr 2014, Biden was sitting at the head of the negotiating table – the place meant for the president of Ukraine – and was distributing directives to the representatives of the “sovereign” Maidan regime.

Since then he has been the United States’ key inspector for Ukraine. Since 2014, old Joe has paid five visits to Kiev. In Dec 2015, he confessed that he had more conversations with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko than with his own wife. In less than two years, the two spent more than 1,000 hours talking on the phone.

In Ukraine, Biden was responsible for a wide range of issues – from appointments of personnel (it was he who forced Poroshenko to dismiss Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in exchange for a $1bn loan) and settlement of conflicts inside the Kiev “terrarium of kindred spirits” to military-political and diplomatic activities. And, of course, he actively encouraged the Kiev regime into fighting corruption, implementing reforms and doing other tasks U.S.-controlled aboriginal regimes are usually supposed to do.

Formally, Biden was an advocate of diplomatic efforts in Donbass. While speaking at the Supreme Rada in Dec 2015, he even urged the Kiev authorities to do something they usually punished their opponents for – to federalize Ukraine.

“Autonomous independent states, their determination to have their own police forces, their determination to have their education system, to have their own government under the united constitution. Constitutional reform that includes judicial reform and decentralization does not compromise your sovereignty. It enhances it. It’s an important step to building a strong, new nation. And it’s important to the Ukrainian-European future,” Biden said.

But if the Americans were actually keen to settle the conflict in Donbass, Poroshenko would have forced the MPs to approve bills on Minsk 2. Onishchenko’s recordings have shown that the Ukrainian MPs can approve any decision if they get certain financial resources in exchange.

On Jan 6, 2017, Biden paid his last visit to Kiev as U.S. vice president. His agenda was as always – calls for implementing Minsk 2, promoting reforms and organizing anti-corruption investigations. But there was a couple of special moments.

Obama’s administration is doing its best to leave Trump with minimal room for foreign political maneuver – more specifically, to bind him with a net of agreements and restrictions (concerning New Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia). Ukraine will not be an exception here as the Americans are not going to let it spoil their game. Ukraine will certainly be one of the key topics during Trump’s talks with the Russians. So, Biden’s task may be to offer the Kiev authorities a plan of action that will make such talks impossible. In the weeks to come, we may witness resumed battels in Donbass and different anti-Russian military provocations, as was the case with the recent missile firings in the Black Sea.

If actually a sovereign state, Ukraine would have refused to receive Biden. But it seems that for the Kiev regime friendly backslappings by the U.S. boss are more important than their country’s national interests.

But politics are not Biden’s only interest in Ukraine. Here he also has business interests. His son, Hunter Biden, is in the board of Ukraine’s biggest private gas producer, Burisma Holdings (an annual output of 1.5bn c m). That company is owned by Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ecology Minister under Viktor Yanukovych. And just a week before Biden’s visit to Ukraine, the country’s Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko ceased all criminal proceedings against Zlochevsky. Poroshenko might have had a big role here as in Vienna journalists saw Zlochevsky talking with Poroshenko’s man Ihor Kononenko, one of the grey cardinals of the Kiev regime. Lutsenko’s decision was a great gift to the Biden family as now they have free hands in Ukraine. Hunter Biden’s appointment into Burisma’s board was a bright example of elite corruption: Biden was given access to a gainful sector while Zlochevsky got a political cover.

So, now that Biden has given final directives to his subordinates and has ensured sufficient defense for his family business, he can go back home with peace of mind and anticipation of a worthy retirement allowance, while disintegrated and imbalanced Ukraine will continue dabbling in the pit of its problems.

Denis Gayevsky, Kiev

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