(1) President Petro Poroshenko to attend UN meeting in NYC and then to Washington ??- Week of Feb 20th

There have been many reports in Kyiv and Washington that President Petro Poroshenko would travel to NYC early next week to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, February 21st and then come to Washington to meet with President Trump and other top U.S. government if all the necessary arrangements could be made.  As far as it is known now, plans for this trip are not yet officially confirmed.

(2) Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin arrived in Wash, D.C. on Tue, Feb 14th - 

The Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, arrived in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, February 14, after making a presentation at the UN in NYC on Monday, for extensive talks with Trump Administration officials and on Capitol Hill.  Minister Klimkin will probably travel back to New York for the UN Security Council meetings next week.  The Foreign Minister is scheduled to give opening remarks tomorrow (Wednesday) in Washington at the U.S.-Ukraine Security Dialogue VIII. (see info below)

(3) Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, in NYC at the UN Security Council open   

      Debate on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure against Terrorist Attacks - Feb 13, 2017

"I will now make a statement in my national capacity. Distinguished participants, Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank today’s briefers for their inputs to our discussion. They reconfirmed once again the complexity and importance of the problem in question. The protection of critical infrastructure is vital to national security, public safety and the economic development of all States. Terrorist attacks on these facilities and services can significantly disrupt the functioning of societies and bring about massive human suffering. I would also like to express my appreciation to all Council members for your support in the process of preparing the text of the draft resolution that was adopted today. This resolution sends a strong message from the Security Council to the international community to give serious consideration to this issue..................?  [to read the entire presentation go to the following link]

LINK:  http://ukraineun.org/en/press-center/166-statement-by-minister-for-foreign-affairs-of-ukraine-h-e-mr-pavlo-klimkin-at-the-unsc-open-debate-on-the-protection-of-critical-infrastructure-against-terrorist-attacks/

(4) Ambassador of Ukraine Valeriy Chaly met U.S. Sen Rob Portman, Co-Chair, Senate Ukraine Caucus - Feb 11, 2017

Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America - The parties discussed the situation where Russian aggression against Ukraine has entered a new spin in recent weeks. In this context, Ambassador Chaly emphasized the particular importance of a continued U.S. leadership in maintaining the transatlantic solidarity with Ukraine and tightening of international pressure on the Kremlin.

There took place an exchange on future collaboration in ensuring further political, military, financial and other forms of the United States’ assistance to Ukraine to help counter Russian hybrid warfare.
Ukraine’s Ambassador thanked Senator Portman for his proactive and steadfast position, as well as his legislative initiatives and statements, made over the recent weeks in particular, emphasizing the need to maintain the sanctions on Russia, and U.S. enhanced security assistance to Ukraine, including the lethal defensive weapon systems.

(5) Wash, D.C. - U.S.-Ukraine Security Dialogue VIII: Feb 14-15, 2017

The Center for US-Ukrainian Relations will host the two-day Eighth US-Ukraine Security Dialogue with the theme "Securing Ukraine’s Sovereignty: The Road Ahead." on February 14-15, in Washington, D.C. The American Foreign Policy Council, CUSUR and the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation will bring together senior defense officials and experts from Ukraine with US defense experts and select members of the new US Administration/Congress to discuss a 'road map' for 'Securing Ukraine's Sovereignty'. Valeriy Chaly [Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States], and Pavlo Klimkin [Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine] are scheduled to be on the program the morning of February 15th, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(6) Wash, D.C. Exhibit - "50 Inventions Bestowed by Ukraine to the World" - Feb 13 to March 3, 2017

An exhibit "50 Inventions Bestowed by Ukraine to the World" has been organized by the Embassy of Ukraine in cooperation with the Ukraine Crisis Media Center and with the support of Meest Corporation, Inc. on the 25th anniversary of Ukraine-US diplomatic relations being observed this year. Talented innovators have always been at the forefront of global changes. The Ukrainian portfolio contains the whole range of achievements in all spheres: from aerospace technology to breakthrough solutions in medicine, from flexible supercapacitors to professional motion picture equipment.

Scientific and technological achievements of Ukrainians on both sides of Atlantic shaped the world, as we know it. Their legacy has already become an integral part of our common global heritage. Today our country nurtures a new generation of inventors, who keep on changing the world, advancing Ukraine and defining a brighter future for everyone. The exhibit is open for free public viewing. Atrium Gallery, Ronald Reagan Building / International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Washington, DC.

(7) Trump Signals Support for Ukraine in Letter to Lithuanian PresidentThe New York Times --

In a letter to Lithuania's president, Dalia Grybauskaite, President Trump, said "Your support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as your efforts to increase energy diversification, advance our shared goal to enhance European and regional security…”  Welcome language indeed.

Link: Continue reading the main story

(8) Trump’s GOP foreign policy critics grow louderPolitico -

Eight Republican senators have written to President Trump arguing for a strong stand against Russian aggression.  Significant because additional Republicans (at least in the Senate) are starting to stand up to what have appeared to be Mr. Trump’s inclinations.  The letter said, among other things, “While we should seek common ground with Russia in areas of mutual interest, we must never pursue cooperation with Russia at the expense of our fundamental interests in defending our allies and promoting our values.” 

The senators also urged Trump not to lift sanctions on Russia unless it ends its aggression in Ukraine and relinquishes control of Crimea.  The signatories were: John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Cory Gardner (R-CO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Todd Young (R-IN), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IW), and Susan Collins (R-Maine)

Link: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/gop-senators-trump-putin-no-friend-234842

(9) Kremlin: no Ukraine ‘deal’ with US possible – The Washington Post -

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Thursday that Russia wants the United States to pressure Ukraine to fulfill the terms of a two-year-old agreement on ending on the war and that the conflict “can hardly be a subject for some kind of deal.”

Commentary:  To anyone who can read, write, chew gum the Kremlin’s propaganda rubbish is a pathetic, sick joke more appropriate for a poor high school comedy routine.  But the stark reality is major media outlets actually publish the stuff and many, shockingly including some government officials, believe it.

Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/kremlin-no-ukraine-deal-with-us-possible/2017/02/09/de3ce93e-eeb3-11e6-a100-fdaaf400369a_story.html

(10) GOP, Dem Senators Want Congressional Say on Russia Sanctions The New York Times/Reuters

A bipartisan group of senators wants President Donald Trump to get approval from Congress before easing U.S. sanctions against Russia. Their legislation, dubbed the Russia Sanctions Review Act.

Commentary:   S. 341 is a bill to provide for congressional oversight of actions to waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.  Senate sponsors of the legislation are: Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), John McCain (R-AZ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

Link:   Continue reading the main story

(11) Senate Foreign Relations takes a Hardline on Russia The Hill --

At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Thursday there was so much agreement between members of the committee and witnesses that Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) said he could not tell Democrats from Republicans.  The hearing, “The United States, the Russia Federation and the Challenges Ahead” found united bipartisan agreement for a hardline against Russia, including sanctions, until there is full compliance with Minsk.

Commentary: It would appear that the more time that passes without clear actions by the Trump Administration regarding Russia the more outspoken Congress is becoming on the subject, at least in the Senate. One still has to be aware of the hesitancy to speak out for Ukraine by some long-time supporters but the phenomena appears now mostly to be found in the House of Representatives.  As for “until there is full compliance with Minsk” Ukraine seems still to be left with the somewhat tortured Minsk strategy that really makes little sense, but for now, given Russia’s unwillingness to budge on its clear responsibilities the standard probably works.  The echo of the Budapest Memorandum seems never to ring in the ears of those who made the commitments thereunder.

Link:  The Hill

(12) Intelligence veteran told Trump officials: Take 'strategic approach' to RussiaThe Hill -- David Shedd, a 30-year veteran of the intelligence community and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, advised the Trump Administration to take a “strategic approach” to Russia the could involve providing defensive weapons to Ukraine and/or extending U.S. missile defense to the Baltic states.  Link: The Hill

(13) Ukraine leader hopeful country will continue to have US backingStars & Stripes --

“I do believe the United States of America will always support justice. And I think justice is on the side of Ukraine,” Volodymyr Groysman said during a news conference Thursday at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Link: Stars and Stripes

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