“Yovanovitch Did Not Come, Grants Are Suspended”: What Is Happening Now at the US Embassy in Ukraine

After the American ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was urgently recalled from Kiev, she has not appeared at the US Embassy, although her arrival was expected on May 11th.

For the meantime Yovanovitch is being replaced by the adviser Joseph Pennington, and in two weeks he will be replaced by the Charge d’Affaires ad interim Kristina Kvien, who is the acting deputy ambassador and economic consul of the US in France.

Yovanovitch withdrew ahead of schedule, before the end of her three-year diplomatic mission this year.

Experts link the premature removal of the ambassador, put in place by the former president Obama, with the case of Kiev’s interference in the US 2016 election and work against Trump, which together with the Ukrainian authorities was put in place by his opponent Hillary Clinton. Trump suspected that Yovanovitch may slow down the investigation into this case as well as the cases of corruption involving the Vice President of the United States Joe Biden in the Burisma case.

Still earlier Yovanovich, according to the official story, left for Washington for consultations and still hasn’t returned to Kiev. At the same time, it is unclear whether or not she will appear here in general. 

“Apparently she was temporarily banned from leaving the US. For now the embassy is in limbo. It’s not clear when the new ambassador will be appointed. But it is clear that there will be big changes and they are felt already now. The issue of visas was actually put on pause, and some of the old ones were revoked. Grant programs were suspended,” said an employee of the US Embassy in Kiev to “Strana”.

At the same time, the source of “Strana” in the lobbyist circles of Washington has not confirmed the information about the ban on Yovanovitch’s departure from the US. 

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“She was summoned from Ukraine to the US, and exempted from her duties. Now de jure she hasn’t yet been dismissed, but de facto she does not work in the State Department any more, her wages were suspended,” said the source. 

By the way, according to the expert of the Atlantic Council Anders Aslund, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, is involved in Yovanovitch’s dismissal. 

“Rudy Giuliani, through various intrigues, tried to obtain the dismissal in Ukraine of the exemplary ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in two weeks, which is simply outrageous,” said Anders Aslund to Voice of America.

Trump’s lawyer cancelled his visit to Kiev, planned for May 14th, for a meeting with Zelensky, having explained it by referring to the presence of “enemies in his environment”, among whom he named the people’s deputy Sergey Leshchenko, close to Yovanovich, who in 2016 inflated the case against the political strategist of Trump – Paul Manafort. Leshchenko, in an interview to “Strana”, said that Giuliani became a victim of the misinformation of the Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko.  

Meanwhile, the staff of the diplomatic mission are waiting for new personnel appointments of people and priority changes. 

“The anti-corruption structures and organisations created by the Democrats and Yovanovitch that receive grants can now expect hard times. The concept will change,” said a source in the embassy.

By the way, about a month ago Ukrainians started to complain in large quantities about refusals to issue American visas and the annulment of already operating ones.

This was already the first warning bell of Washington for Kiev because of Ukrainegate – the scandal with Kiev’s interference in the American elections, which succeeded the inspired by democrats Russiagate, which collapsed after the failure of the Mueller report.

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“The fact that there will be a personnel decision concerning Yovanovitch became clear even in the winter when the corresponding signals began to come from the State Department. And in March Trump’s son wrote a tweet against her,” said the source in embassy.

Aleksandra Kharchenko

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