Biden’s Kyiv Trip, Explained
16 December, 2015

What You Need To Know:

✓ "Joe Biden should not have to give the speech he gave in Verkhovna Rada";
✓ American pressure for Ukraine to reform should be more subtle, more policy-based;
✓ As the war becoming less intense, "attention has started to shift back toward Kyiv, Ukrainian leadership has less and fewer excuses” for lack of reforms;
✓ Movement on Ukrainian domestic reforms happens only when the West representative gets involved.

Noah Sneider of the Economist described the two main messages of the Biden’s speech: “reinforcing the notion that despite all the events going on in the world, America’s position hasn’t changed in Ukraine. And the second message, make comments on the domestic political situation, the fight against corruption, the lack of progress in many ways…”

Sneider said that this speech “should not have to be made” because it should be reinforced by actions by American policy. And for the domestic situation part, Ukrainian leadership should be able to understand what Biden said by themselves”.

Noah Sneider explained that until now, Ukrainian leaders used the situation in the east to hide the slowness of the reform process, “with this relatively quiet situation in Donbas, Ukraine leadership has less and less excuses to explain why they haven’t done the things they needed to do."

For Sneider, this recent Biden's visit shows that in Ukraine, “movements on Ukrainian domestic reforms happen only when a west representative gets involved and put pressure on Ukrainian leaderships, these movements should happen in response to the desires of the Ukrainian people themselves”.

Hromadske's Ian Bateson spoke to Noah Sneider, Moscow correspondent for The Economist in Kyiv in December, 2015.

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