Illia Ponomarenko: Ukraine’s Friend & Foe of the Week
Editor’s Note: This feature separates Ukraine’s friends from its enemies. The Order of Yaroslav the Wise has been given since 1995 for distinguished service to the nation. It is named after the Kyivan Rus leader from 1019-1054, when the medieval empire reached its zenith. The Order of Lenin was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union, whose demise Russian President Vladimir Putin mourns. It is named after Vladimir Lenin, whose corpse still rots on the Kremlin’s Red Square, more than 100 years after the October Revolution he led.
Ukraine’s Friend on the Week: Rob Portman, a United States senator
News about Nord Stream 2 are not looking too great these days.
Just recently, U.S. President Joe Biden decided to waive fresh sanctions against Nord Stream 2, the Kremlin gas pipeline project in Europe — which is now probably a few months away from being finished.
Naturally, this was a frustrating, unpleasantly surprising move. This week, Rob Portman, the Republican senator from Ohio and known Ukraine advocate, grilled U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the Biden administration’s decisions.
During a June 8 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, the senator said that backing off on the Kremlin pipeline “is going to have a detrimental impact particularly… on Ukraine, where the pipeline goes through Ukraine, where there’s about a $3 billion fee that is badly needed in Ukraine these days.”
“I’m disappointed,” Portman told Blinken.
“And I know that you yourself had a strong view on this at one point, that Nord Stream 2 is not something that was in our interests.”
Portman was right. The Biden administration bowed to the Kremlin on one of the key security issues for Ukraine, the whole of Europe, and eventually, the United States as well.
But it feels great to see our friends in the U.S. Congress stand on our side, come hell or high water.
So, once again, Portman gets his very much deserved symbolic Order of Yaroslav the Wise.
Ukraine’s Foe of the Week: Sebastian Kurz, the Chancellor of Austria
It pains us to continuously nominate as Ukraine’s foe someone who once was the world’s youngest serving government leader.
But again, Sebastian Kurz, the Chancellor of Austria, leaves us no choice with his unholy love story with the Kremlin.
Early in June, he was the only major European politician to visit the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is held annually under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.
Quite expectedly, Herr Kurz fulled lived up to his reputation as the symbol of contemporary Europe’s spineless before Russian money.
As Belarusian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko hijacks a passenger jet to detain his critic, as scores of Russian troops continue massing in and near Ukraine, as Putin outlaws the country’s top anti-graft watchdog, the Austrian prime minister says he wants to “end a negative spiral” between Russia and the European Union.
Kurz says there are countries in Europe and beyond that want a good relationship with Moscow.
It was very nice of the chancellor to reveal the real the reason why he wants peace and love with the Kremlin: Russian businesses and investment in Austria.
“We have a lot of cooperation aspects, ranging from energy and machine building to pharmaceuticals and food production,” he said during the forum.
“Both sides benefit from the economic cooperation.”
This desire to turn a blind eye to the Kremlin’s vilest crimes in exchange for Russia’s dirty money becomes more and more insane with every passing day.
The outcome of this deal with the devil will surely be nasty — and don’t say we at the Kyiv Post never warned Kurz by awarding him a rich stock of Orders of Lenin.