The praise and support came also with a warning from Vice President Joe Biden, addressing the US Ukrainian Business Forum, that this might very well be the last chance for Ukraine to reform the economy and come up with tough legislation to deal with corruption, transparency and to implement the rule of law.
The US Vice President also lashed out against Russia for sabotaging Ukraine’s efforts not only with putting little ‘green men’ on the ground and by supplying and arming rebels – calling them thugs – but in every possible way undermining the efforts of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his administration to put Ukraine on a path of prosperity. Joe Biden reiterated the demand for Russia to fully implement and respect the Minsk agreement, including the full territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Prior to the vice president’s speech, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donohue, addressed the gathering by outlining the opportunities in Ukraine for US business and investors, particularly in agriculture, IT, oil and gas exploration and aerospace. He acknowledged that concerns for meaningful pro-business reforms in government’s efficiency and transparency, as well as VAT reforms remain key elements for the government in Kiev if they want to attract more investment.
US Secretary for Commerce Penny Pritzker also pledged her support for the Ukrainian government and expressed her hope that reforms and privatisation of state owned energy companies combined with other pro-business reforms will lead to more investment by US business.
Following the presentation at the American Chamber, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk met with Vice President Joe Biden in the White House. The White House released afterwards a statement in which they stated that President Obama had dropped by in the meeting. President Obama and Vice President Biden expressed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, and territorial integrity, including their commitment to maintain sanctions on Russia until it fully implements its obligations under the Minsk agreements.
The U.S. president also commended the Ukrainian Government for the steps it has taken to implement its obligations under the Minsk agreements, including the submission to Ukraine’s parliament of draft constitutional amendments on decentralization. They praised Prime Minister Yatsenyuk for resisting populist measures that could undermine Ukraine’s financial stability whilst pressing Ukraine passing additional reform measures, among other in the energy sector, to fulfil its commitments to the IMF and other international financial institutions that have given their support to the government in Kiev.