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Foreign Policy Research Institute

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Ukraine loses its main ally in the person of the United States

On March 27, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said in an interview with the American HillTv that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch at the first meeting with him gave him a list of people for whom politically motivated investigations can not be inspired. The Hill is one of the leading political editions in the United States, which focuses on the work of Congress and the White House, American politicians often start their day with it. "Unfortunately, at the first meeting with the U.S. Ambassador in Kyiv (Jovanovic) gave me a list of persons whom we should not pursue", - said Yuriy Lutsenko to the Hill.TV, who took the post of Prosecutor General in April 2016, according to BBC News Ukraine. "My response to this was the fact that this is unacceptable. No one in this country – not our President, nor our Parliament, nor the Ambassador is not going to stop me from prosecution if there is a crime", - he continued, informs the BBC News Ukraine. Press Secretary of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Larisa Sargan in a comment to BBC News Ukraine said that according to Mr. Lutsenko the surnames of some people's deputies were mentioned in the list that he mentioned in an interview with the American edition.

According to the claims of Lutsenko he explained in detail about a dialogue with the U.S. Ambassy about $ 4 million. "At that time, we had a case for embezzlement of US government technical assistance in the amount of $ 4 million, and the dialogue took place in this regard, - Lutsenko said in an interview, informs BBC News Ukraine. - At that time [Yovanovitch] believed that our interviews with Ukrainian citizens, Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors to the U.S. Embassy, cast a shadow over the anti-corruption policy". "In fact, we received a letter from the Ambassador from the U.S. Embassy that the money, we are talking about, was under the full control of the U.S. Embassy, that and the U.S. Embassy does not require our legal assessment of these facts. The situation was rather strange because the funds we are talking about were intended for the General Prosecutor's Office and we said we have never seen them and the U.S. Embassy responded that there is no problem", - said the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, reports BBC News Ukraine[1].

Claims of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yury Lutsenko that the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch allegedly gave him the list of people who were asked to "not prosecute" are untrue. The United States Department of State called that Lutsenko's claim about receiving the list of people who shouldn't be pursued is an "outright fiction". This is stated in the response of the representative of the United States Department of State to the request of "Ukrainian truth". "Ambassador Yovanovitch represents the President of the United States in Ukraine and America supports the Ambassador and her statements. The claims of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine are untrue and is intended to tarnish Ambassador Yovanovitch reputation," - said in response, according to "Ukrainian truth". The United States Department of State added that such accusations only benefit "corrupt figures." "Ukraine as well as United States, is a free country with a free press. Politicians, experts and the media have the right to share their views, which is part of the political process. But this does not mean that this claim is true", - says the representative of the United States Department of State, informs "Ukrainian truth". At the same time it is noted that such attacks "double the determination" of the United States to help Ukraine in the fight against corruption. "We have always stressed the need to implement reforms that meet the requirements of the Ukrainian people set during the Revolution of Dignity. Ukraine's long-term success and sustainability depend on its commitment to reform, in particular the fight against corruption. Ukraine needs dedicated officials and strong anti-corruption institutions to succeed", - said in response, reports "Ukrainian truth".

It is also noted that the United States "is committed to cooperate with our partners in Ukraine "."Due to the lack of political will on the part of Ukraine, for example, from the General Prosecutor's Office, we perform our duties to American taxpayers, and move remedies where they can lead to positive changes," - said in response. The United States Department of State added that they are aware of reports in the media on the the claims of the NABU Director. "We advise you to contact NABU for comments on these claims", - said in response on request, informs "Ukrainian truth".[2]

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko assured of the full support of the United States Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and noted her role in the promotion of Ukrainian-American relations. According to the President, relations between Ukraine and the United States have never been so effective and substantive", as they are now. "In this context, I would like to note the important role of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in promoting Ukrainian-American relations", - Poroshenko said, reports "Unian". Poroshenko also stressed that Yovanovitch "as a representative of the United States, as the state and President of the United States of America Donald Trump, a great friend of Ukraine and my great friend has my full support".[3]

Therefore, it turns out a rather strange situation when the President says that the relations between Ukraine and the United States are extremely "effective and substantive", and Prosecutor General Lutsenko accuses the American Ambassador of almost interfering in the Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Everything Lutsenko told The Hill, apparently, could happen in 2016 immediately after his appointment as Prosecutor General. Where and how this meeting took place (if it took place) is not known. Who appeared on the list of Yovanovitch, the head of the GPU did not specify. But his press secretary hinted: there were surnames of deputies of the Verkhovna Rada. Why they appeared there, in what form the American Ambassador gave the list and the main thing - the Prosecutor General does not say if there is any documentary evidence of this. At the same time Lutsenko mentioned that the Ambassador prevented the General Prosecutor's Office from providing American assistance in the amount of four million dollars. Thus, it turns out that Yuriy Lutsenko hid information for three years, which can be qualified as the intervention of the U.S. Ambassador in the Internal Affairs of Ukraine and in the work of the Prosecutor General's Office. Why? One of the versions - Poroshenko's team was looking for a good opportunity to neutralize Yovanovitch, whose tenure in Kyiv, by the way, ends in five months.

During her tenure in Ukraine, it defended NABU, anti-corruption officers and quite sharply reacted to all the corruption scandals, insisting on the resignation of anticorruption Prosecutor Nazar Holodnitskiy. In short, the U.S. Ambassador created certain inconveniences for the current leadership of Ukraine. But in this story Lutsenko didn't seem to realize one thing: the accusations against Yovanovitch, the U.S. government, whose interests the Ambassador represents in Ukraine she perceived as directed at the United States. Washington reacted quite sharply to the public claims of the Prosecutor General. And he did not even manage to clarify his position, further complicating the situation.

There can only be one explanation for this whole story: Petro Poroshenko and his team decided to kill two birds with one stone - to discredit the long-time critic of the Ukrainian authorities Marie Yovanovitch and to play along with the U.S. President Donald Trump. Yuriy Lutsenko decided to ride the wave, revealing a great conspiracy of Ukrainians against the current U.S. President. The main character is NABU Director. His patron Marie Yovanovitch, as well as unnamed deputies by Prosecutor General, that the head of the U.S. diplomatic missions allegedly asked not to touch. It is unlikely Lutsenko will be able to bring the case to a logical conclusion. Probably, everything will end with the next bubble. As it was, for example, with the case of the coup d'etat, that Mikheil Saakashvili allegedly prepared in Ukraine. For Lutsenko the main thing is the process, not the result.

Obviously, Washington is well aware of the price for claims and the work of Yuriy Lutsenko. And about corruption which exists in the highest echelons of the Ukrainian power. Poroshenko and Lutsenko are unlikely to ruin the career of Marie Yovanovitch, who over the past three years has witnessed the desperate resistance of the current kleptocratic Ukrainian authorities to anti-corruption efforts. It is obvious that the scandal with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine will sooner or later cool down, but the unpleasant after-taste will still remain. No matter how hard the current Ukrainian leadership wanted to move towards Europe, it comes from the USSR, where America was guilty of everything. Perhaps, this is the saddest conclusion from all this history.[4]

Obviously the relations between the countries worsened on the background of the abolition of the article on illegal enrichment by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. Trying to stop the fight against corruption the current Ukrainian leadership jeopardize Ukraine's strategic relations with the United States. Actually our power elite played along Russia, and this is confirmed by the recent visit of Boyko and Medvedchuk to Moscow. This means that if our state will continue mass falsifications and neglects anti-corruption reforms, there is an unpleasant opportunity to get into international isolation.