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Who among the world leaders will be the closest to the new president of Ukraine

Zelensky’s contacts with foreign leaders so far only outline the contours of Ukraine’s foreign policy in the next five years.

Фото: Depositphotos

On the night of April 21 on 22, in the non-public part of the headquarters of Vladimir Zelensky, the telephone trills did not stop. Politics congratulated on winning the presidential election. And not only relatives, relatives, acquaintances. World leaders, representatives of foreign ministries of foreign states congratulated the newly elected president of Ukraine. In a matter of hours, the result of the Ukrainian elections was legitimized, that is, recognized internationally.

Fast recognition

The observers were thoroughly surprised by the speed with which the Western world recognized the winner of the Ukrainian elections. Note that one of the first (if not the first) Vladimir Zelensky was congratulated on her Twitter by the head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, Margot Wahlstrom. It happened literally an hour after the announcement of the exit poll results and soon after the race winner congratulated current president Petro Poroshenko.

Then Vladimir Zelensky in a telephone conversation congratulated with the victory of the President of Poland Andrzej Duda. The leader of the neighboring state invited Volodymyr Zelenskyy to visit Poland and expressed confidence that the choice of the Ukrainians "will confirm the stability of Ukraine on the way to the Euro-Atlantic community." A little later, Zelensky was congratulated by President of France Emmanuel Macron, and Armenia by Nikol Pashinyan. And already when it was late night in Kiev, the winner of the elections in Ukraine rang US President Donald Trump.

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It should be noted that the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States was also the first to publish a statement congratulating Zelensky. But still the majority of congratulations the winner received through social networks.

Such speed in the recognition of elections in international practice is rare. As a rule, the leaders of foreign states maintain a certain pause before reacting to the results of the expression of the will of the people. However, in this case, efficiency has its own explanations. Firstly, the West initially closely watched the elections in Ukraine and therefore was sure that they were democratic and transparent, and therefore their result is not in doubt. In addition, the results of the National Exit Poll, which was funded and supported by a number of international organizations and institutions, in particular USAID, the Renaissance Foundation, the EU Embassy in Ukraine, etc. were not questioned.

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“The gap between the candidates was obvious. In addition, Petro Poroshenko himself admitted defeat and congratulated Zelensky. Therefore, the Western leaders saw no obstacles to congratulate the winner in the evening, ”political analyst Vladimir Fesenko told the Segodnya website. “In addition, one should not forget that the support of our state and the preservation of stability in our country are fundamentally important for all Western partners of Ukraine. And speaking more cynically and pragmatically - keeping Ukraine in the orbit of Western influence. So this is not so much support for Zelensky, but support for Ukraine. And the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government ”.

It is important, not when, but what is said

Photo: Instagram / zeteam2019

According to Ilya Kusa, an expert on international politics and the Middle East, the analytical center "Ukrainian Institute for the Future", it is important not which of the Western leaders was the first to congratulate the new Ukrainian president, but the messages that sounded in the congratulations. And although, publishing statements or talking with Vladimir Zelensky, Western politicians kept the rhetoric in extremely diplomatic tones, nevertheless, certain conclusions can be drawn from their congratulations. And, perhaps, it is necessary.

“In congratulations to Zelensky, you can read hidden messages that are expected of us in the West. Thus, the European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn said that the new president received strong support to fight corruption, - said Ilya Kusa. - The Chancellor of Austria also emphasized the fight against corruption. Someone mentioned judicial reform, someone - about investments. That is, everyone posted messages about pain points that annoy Europeans. Congratulating them, they let the new president understand what was expected of him, what he should pay attention to, ”the expert said.

In this regard, it is easy to see that Western leaders expect from the new Ukrainian president, above all, the continuation and deepening of the initiated reforms, the commitment to democracy. There were also convictions that Ukraine will not turn from the path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Will Washington clash with Paris for Ukraine?

Photo: White House official page on Facebook / The White House / Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen

Following the results of the new president’s talk with Western leaders, you can see some other hints of certain changes in foreign policy vectors. So, for example, the prompt congratulations of Donald Trump may be evidence of the subconscious sympathy of the American president to the new head of the Ukrainian state. Which for us is definitely a good sign.

“When Trump congratulated, there was something personal, I think,” political analyst Vadim Karasev told the Segodnya website. - This is a kind of support for the trend when non-systemic politicians come to power. Trump's support stands for “Well, look what I told you! You criticize me here in America. But all over the world, non-systemic leaders who bring about changes come to power in a democratic way ”. That is, the arrival of Zelensky, to some extent, confirms Trump's correctness that Trump is the leader of these changes. And this is positive for Zelensky in some way, ”the political scientist notes.

Another sign is the meeting of Vladimir Zelensky before the second round with French President Emmanuel Macron. Historically, during the presidency of Poroshenko, the main “curator” of Ukraine was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, the construction of Nord Stream 2 has complicated relations between our countries. In addition, Merkel is known to be leaving politics, and it is not known whether her successors as German chancellor will be just as supportive of our country. In this regard, the establishment of relations with the French President, who claims to be the EU leader, is a positive moment.

“Macron and France will try to seize the initiative from Germany in the negotiations between the EU and Ukraine, and dominate the negotiations on Ukraine. Play the first fiddle in determining the formats of negotiations. This is beneficial to Macron for political reasons, beneficial to France, which considers itself a European leader. And, I think, if we want to change the format of negotiations on Donbass, we will now need to go first to Paris and then to Berlin. This is how I understand it, ”says Ilya Kusa.

At the same time, the expert does not exclude that the struggle for influence on Ukraine will complicate the already very tense relations between the French and American presidents.

“It is clear that the United States will not give up its influence on Ukraine. As Kurt Volcker said, “we are in Ukraine for a long time”. Therefore, if the Zelenskiy administration tries to connect the United States to the Normandy format, there will be a confrontation between the United States and France. France will be against it, ”Ilya Kus suggested.

Where to go to the new president?

Фото: Depositphotos

According to experts, from a symbolic point of view, the first foreign visit of Vladimir Zelensky, and also, of course, the figure of the Minister of Foreign Affairs will be important.

“It is important who Volodymyr Zelenskyy will nominate for the post of Foreign Minister. If Poroshenko, in fact, was himself, de facto, the minister of foreign affairs, conducted foreign policy, then Zelensky, most likely, will still be the head of the foreign policy department. Therefore, for him, the presentation of a worthy candidacy is one of the key tasks in the context of establishing relationships with foreign partners of Ukraine, ”notes Volodymyr Fesenko.

Although the new president has already received several offers to pay a visit, according to Ilya Kusa, Vladimir Zelensky should pay attention primarily to neighboring countries.

“The first visit is of great symbolic and political significance. I would like Volodymyr Zelenskyy to make his first visit to Warsaw. Given the current regional and global trends, given that Poland is our closest neighbor today, forging even closer relations would be the right step. That is, first of all, not London, not Paris, not Brussels, not Washington - but the neighbors. Moreover, after Warsaw it would be good to see the Visegrad tour - to the countries of the Visegrad Four, ”said Ilya Kusa.

Photo: Facebook / The White House

Zelensky has only a year

On the whole, experts agree that in relations with the West, the new president will have a “honeymoon”, a certain “grace period”. True, not as preferential as Petro Poroshenko had in 2014.

“I think our international partners will support us in any case,” says Ilya Kusa. - It is important what we will offer. It is clear that if we do not offer anything, but walk with an outstretched hand, then, of course, we will be treated accordingly. Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in a worse position than Poroshenko in 2014. Because in 2014, famous historical events took place - the revolution, the annexation of Crimea, the war. Poroshenko initially had a much higher credit of trust and a more powerful historical background. That is, the West was ready to give immediately. Zelensky will not be given right away - they will demand. Or wait for initiatives and first steps. Zelensky will need to quickly come up with something, propose, ”the expert notes.

According to political scientist Vadim Karasev, Zelensky in the foreign policy arena rather than a "honeymoon", but "a month of positive expectations."

“They will look closely, they will look at the first steps, where the first visit will take place, what messages will be about Minsk, the Normandy format and the conflict in Donbass, what kind of staff they will deploy. In general, to observe, ”notes Vadim Karasev.

According to Vladimir Fesenko, such a loyal attitude towards the newly elected presidents, in principle, is typical of world practice. He recalled that, for example, the “honeymoon” in international relations between the West and Ukraine after the election of President Viktor Yushchenko continued until the resignation of Yulia Tymoshenko's government in September 2005.

“But after the conflicts in Yushchenko’s team, after the resignation of the Tymoshenko government, relations not only deteriorated, but cooled,” Vladimir Fesenko recalled.

According to a political scientist, Vladimir Zelensky has about a year when the West will demonstrate increased loyalty.

“This is, of course, if something extraordinary does not happen. And after a year they will evaluate more seriously and, possibly, they will adjust their assessments and their attitude, ”the expert noted.

Russia is waiting

Separately, you need to say about the aggressor country. From Vladimir Putin, the newly elected President of Ukraine did not receive congratulations. That, in principle, is absolutely consistent with the logic of the state leading the war against us and occupying part of the territory of Ukraine. Nevertheless, as it was made clear in the Kremlin, they expect that Vladimir Zelensky will be more compliant than his predecessor. However, this was expressed without much confidence and rather restrained.

Thus, the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, noted that it was too early to judge the possibilities of working together between Vladimir Zelensky and Vladimir Putin. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he was confident that Zelensky’s rhetoric would not change, but he still hopes for better interaction.

“As for the Russian reaction, they do not want to open their cards right away. They themselves do not really understand what to expect from Zelensky. In recent days, he has had various vague messages in different terminology - from terrorists to insurgents. And they want some certainty. They want to pause, to hear some statements from him already as the elected president - even if he has not taken office. And only then make some decisions, ”says Vadim Karasev.

However, one resonant decision has already been made - April 24, Putin signed a decree to simplify the issuance of Russian passports to Ukrainians who live in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Ukraine responded immediately to the UN Security Council. According to experts, the decision of the Kremlin should be the reason for the new package of anti-Russian sanctions from the West.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

Read also on ForumDaily:

'Spectacular performance': Western media on Poroshenko's rule and his defeat in elections

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"Landings will be": the Zelensky team promised to punish those responsible for the surrender of the Crimea

Trump called in person: how world leaders responded to Zelensky’s victory

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