What Does the Early Dismissal of the US Ambassador to Ukraine Mean?

As was expected, the American ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was recalled ahead of schedule from Ukraine.

“Ukrainegate” – the interference of Kiev in the 2016 American election, which is promoted with an improbable speed in the US – became the main reason, according to diplomatic sources.

Washington blames the Ukrainian authorities for working with Hillary Clinton – the competitor of Donald Trump. And Yovanovitch, as a person of his predecessor – Barack Obama, was directly involved in this story.

She was supposed to leave her post on June 18th, but Washington, as the informed media reports, decided to do it one month earlier – on May 20th.

The Ukrainian “Strana” news agency found out why this happened and what the consequences will be.

Volker is next?

The decision to dismiss Yovanovitch was made by Trump after the meeting with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

This was stated to “Strana” by the former people’s deputy Andrey Artemenko, who lives in the US. He gave evidences in front of a panel of jurors within the framework of the investigation of the special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

“Firstly, the White House started to look at members of the team of Obama and Biden, who were appointed in different embassies including in Ukraine. Secondly, there is an active investigation into the interference of Ukraine in the 2016 US presidential election, which now, of course, has a green light from the political will of the American leadership. Everything that happened in communication between the US Embassy in Ukraine, the Presidential Administration, the State Department, and the White House in 2016 has a direct bearing on the ongoing investigation. And in connection with the ongoing investigation, ‘Ukrainegate’, after the meeting between Trump and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the decision was made to dismiss Yovanovitch,” said Artemenko.

Now, after the end of the Mueller investigation, which did not prove the existence of ties between Trump and Russia, the administration of the US President went on the attack.

According to Artemenko, in addition to Yovanovitch, the special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker – a supporter of Poroshenko who before the election actually promoted the current president, saying that he has done more than his predecessors did in 20 years – also should be removed.   

After Yovanovitch leaves, within ten days an interim Charge d’Affaires will be appointed. The candidate, according to Artemenko, is still being discussed.

“It may be a person who isn’t a career diplomat with a pro-Ukraine position who shares the position of the White House, including in light of the upcoming US presidential election and in the formation of a new negotiation platform with the Russian Federation concerning solving the Ukrainian issue,” said the former people’s deputy.

As sources close to the US State Department told “Strana” , a decision has already been made on the high representation of Washington at the future inauguration of Zelensky. “There will be either the Vice President or the Secretary of State,” said a source.

Also, according to him, Zelensky will receive a meeting invitation in Washington with Donald Trump. “And the American president will personally tell the Ukrainian president their vision of solving the problems with Russia and peace in Donbass. And it can be a cardinal turn,” predicted the source.

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Changes in relations with Russia

According to him, the dismissal of Yovanovitch and all the subsequent processes that will begin in the Ukrainian direction of American policy are now directly connected to Trump and Putin’s negotiations.

After them, as we recall, the US President very highly appreciated the potential of making changes in Russian-American relations.

According to a source, this will also concern the situation in Ukraine.

“After the Mueller investigation failed, Trump was given a free hand and he starts the implementation of the action plan for the normalisation of relations with Moscow. And peace in Donbass will be one of the major elements. A compromise solution concerning this has to be found in the near future. At least both parties have the political will to do so. And so that the process is not slowed down by the previous framework of Biden and Kerry, they will gradually be removed, replaced by with people with a new vision. And the resignation of Yovanovitch is only the first step,” said the source. 

End of the Soros era

He also says that the consequences of this change in American politics are extremely profound.

“Since the end of the 1990’s the policy concerning Ukraine in the US was left at the mercy of the Democrats and people related to Soros. They created the whole infrastructure of influence in Kiev that kept afloat on grants or direct American help. Like, for example, the recently created anti-corruption structures. At the same time, this same Soros had a purely mercantile task – controlling the gas transit system. Now the concept will change and Soros’ people will be gradually taken away from the levers of American policy for Kiev,” said a source.

Problems with anti-corruption officials 

Proceeding from this it is possible to predict hard times for the anti-corruption structures that were earlier patronised by the American Embassy.

According to Artemenko, the US is investigating Poroshenko and the anti-corrupt officials who were supported by Yovanovitch. 

“As soon as Poroshenko will lose his presidential immunity after the inauguration, he will receive not only criminal cases in Ukraine, he will also receive official criminal cases in the US with all that it implies. Along with Poroshenko, all those people who, in defiance of diplomatic etiquette, openly supported one side in the election of another country – Obama, Hillary, who officially said that they will do everything so that Hillary won, will be interrogated. Clinton, respectively, approved and appointed people to key positions in Ukraine. For all of this, the losing government must incur not only political, but also criminal penalty. Not to mention embezzling the money of American taxpayers and many other things that were done during Poroshenko’s era,” said Artemenko, who the Ukrainian president deprived of nationality.

In addition, as experts predict, all the heritage of Yovanovitch in the form of anti-corruption bodies will be reviewed. 

Sources close to the US State Department told “Strana” that the decision to hard reset NABU and SAP was made.

“The previous leaders completely discredited themselves, therefore everything should be changed there. Just the fact that it was precisely NABU that became nearly the principal organ for interference in the American elections by Clinton’s party via the case of the so-called black-book ledger of the Party of Regions is worth a lot,” said the source.

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According to him, many aspects of the activity of anti-corruption bodies and activists caused bewilderment in Washington.

“Take for example the story with the persecution of the head of the Constitutional Court Stanislav Shevchuk, who was banned from entering the US at Yovanovitch’s tip. Also the scandalous inefficiency of NABU irritated, which failed all the time to even approach an investigation into the main corruption schemes in Poroshenko’s environment. Which, of course, raised huge questions. Including to the ambassador Yovanovitch, who actively protected anti-corruption officials,” said the source.

According to the interlocutor of “Strana” close to anti-corruption bodies, changing the ambassador and, in general, the concept of the American policy in relation to Ukraine, can pull the carpet out from under the feet of NABU, SAP, and the Anti-corruption Court, which still hasn’t been fully created. “In fact, the main engine of the process disappeared. Now nobody knows where to run. And what is good and what is bad, in terms of the new trends of Washington,” considers the source.

“Anti-corruption bodies indeed must be really completely relaunched with new people and on new principles,” said Artemenko. Sytnik coordinated his actions with Poroshenko, which has been repeatedly proven, including in journalistic investigations. Relaunching will not affect support for Ukraine at all”.

Yovanovitch vs Lutsenko  

As a reminder, the clouds over Yovanovitch’s head started to become dense at the end of March, at the peak of the conflict with the Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko. Trying to have a safety net in the event that Poroshenko is defeated, he leaked to the White House compromising evidence on the Democrats and accused the US Ambassador in Ukraine of abusing their authority.

According to him, she transferred to him a list of people who it was impossible to investigate. Among them there were anti-corruption officials sponsored by the US Embassy.

But it’s not this that made the White House angry, but the fact that the creatures of the ambassador – the head of NABU Artem Sytnik and the chief of the Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office Nazar Kholodnitsky – in 2016 transferred to the US compromising evidence on the political strategist of Trump and the head of his headquarters Paul Manafort.

In the past Manafort worked in Ukraine, where he advised the Party of Regions. A number of Ukrainian politicians through anti-corruption bodies initiated a case on the illegal income of Manafort during his work for Yanukovych. As a result, the former head of the headquarters of Trump recently was given a prison sentence in the US. 

The same prosecutor who looked for Donald Trump’s ties with the Kremlin carried out this investigation. But in the end Robert Mueller did not find any Russian trace. And the White House spread its wings and went on the counterattack – it started to inflate the case on the Ukrainian trace in the campaign of the Democrats. I.e., about the interference of the Ukrainian side in the American elections. 

And the dismissal of Yovanovitch became the natural act of this drama. “The campaign against Manafort passed through the US Embassy,” said Artemenko. 

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The people’s deputy Viktoriya Syumar in comment on Facebook also assumed that Yovanovitch paid the price for “Manafort’s case” and connected her removal with “Ukrainegate”.

“An obvious story after Lutsenko’s interview. Well, and the desire to use the ‘Ukrainian factor’ in internal American affairs,” wrote Syumar.

In addition, the new owners of the White House try in general to build the line about the failure of Democrats in foreign policy, including in the Ukrainian direction. It’s like saying: all the structures that were created under the guidance of the US in Kiev during the times of the presidency of Obama (NABU, SAP, and others) did not show efficiency, wallowed in corruption and scandals. And the ambassador Yovanovitch and also the “remains” of the Democrats in the State Department cover for them.  

Among the most obvious opponents there of Yovanovitch in the US there is the Republican congressman Pete Sessions, who expressed concern about work of the ambassador in Ukraine long ago. According to his information, she privately stated about having “contempt” for Trump’s administration.

The main target is Biden

Via the early removal of the ambassador and via “Ukrainegate”, the American authorities approach the main target – the former Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden, the most probable rival of Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

The media imputes direct interference in Ukrainian politics and also probable corruption – lobbying the interests of the business of the former Minister of Ecology from the times of Yanukovych, Nikolay Zlochevsky; Biden’s son Hunter became a part of the board of directors of his “Burisma” company immediately after Euromaidan – to one of the pillars of the Democratic Party and the “curator” of Kiev under the Obama administration. 

At Biden’s order, even the-then Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was dismissed over an investigation into “Burisma”. In an interview to “Strana” Shokin spoke about Biden’s role in his dismissal, which he connected to the fact that the Prosecutor General’s Office started a legal investigation into the “Burisma” company, after which Biden forcefully raised the question of Shokin’s dismissal in front of Poroshenko.

According to the former Prosecutor General, Poroshenko at first tried to force him to write a notice of resignation “for health reasons”, but when he refused, he dismissed him himself, claiming that Shokin allegedly “lost the trust of the public”.

As a reminder, Biden bragged about how he forced Kiev to dismiss Shokin, blackmailing it by threatening to refuse to give a billion tranche from the IMF. And when the former Prosecutor General was dismissed, the new one miraculously closed the cases against the firm where the son of the Vice President of the United States worked. 

Probably, it is this that explains the speed of Yury Lutsenko, who, according to the New York Times, now actively works with Trump’s lawyers and now leaks compromising evidence on Biden. The Prosecutor General doesn’t want to be interrogated by the FBI over “Ukrainegate” after leaving office. He wants to remain in politics and, perhaps, already with a new cover in the form of the Republicans. 

Aleksandra Kharchenko

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